Football team ready for season after extended wait


Contributed by Oskar Baldwin

Brookline High Football team poses for a picture fall 2019

In a normal year, the football season would start in the middle of August. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) decided to create a Fall II season that would include football and be wedged in between the end of winter sports and the start of spring sports. The Fall II season is expected to start February 22 and go until April 25.

Before the start of the season, the MIAA stated that contact and tackling as well as the use of footballs at practice will be prohibited until the season officially starts. As a result, the team has not held a traditional practice since Thanksgiving Day, 2019. Nonetheless, the athletes and the coaching staff have accepted the challenge and have worked incredibly hard to put themselves in the best position to succeed.

Head coach Chad Hunte said that one of greatest challenges this season is maintaining six feet of distance. He said that, as a coach, he loves to interact with his players, and he wants his players to interact with their teammates, but the pandemic has made it extremely difficult to communicate and interact on the football field.

“As a kid there’s so many things you want to do, whether it be high five a friend or get close to be able to hear each other, but it has been difficult,” Hunte said. “I think everyone’s just learning and understanding that what’s most important is the kids health and safety, so I’ll do whatever it takes for our guys to play and get ready.”

Hunte also said that although this season has been a challenge for the team, the kids have learned to adapt in new ways and the most important thing this season is that the team can stay healthy.

“It was a challenge at first, but it’s all about how you can adapt and that’s what’s been great with our team and with these kids,” Hunte said. “They’re able to adjust and adapt, and they know what’s important. They know to keep each other safe and keep each other healthy.”

Senior Oskar Baldwin, the starting quarterback, said that the biggest challenge for him has been not having the time and ability to consult with his coaches about specific plays and the overall gameplan of the offense. The quarterback is the leader of any offense, so it is vital that they have the time to meet with coaches and players before and after practice.

“I don’t do that many defensive drills, so I would talk with a lot of the coaches one-on-one. Then we would do offense as a team, and then at the end of practice I would stay after,” Baldwin said. “That has really come to a halt this year because I can’t meet early with the coaches because school is all different times, and then practice is only an hour long workout, so there’s really not much time.”

According to Hunte, all the team wants is to get out on the field together and play. He said that the number of games they are able to play this season doesn’t matter as long as they on the field, united as a team.

“We have terrific leaders and just a great senior class,” Hunte said. “Whether that’s throwing footballs on their own or whatever the case may be, our kids are just eager to get out there and have fun with each other. We would like to play as many games as possible but just the experience of getting out there together is what we’re all hoping for.”

Baldwin said that although there is overall less practice time this year, that will not affect the offense’s performance.

“This is the hardest working group of football players, at least that I’ve ever been around,” Baldwin said.

Junior Camryn Lezama, who plays running back and safety said that although there is less practice time, he has still been able to interact and bond with his teammates.

“We’ve been able to really get to know each other more on a friend level instead of just, this is my teammate,” Lezama said. “I think that has really helped the chemistry. I definitely feel a lot closer now than before.”

Lezama said that the players and coaches are ready to take the field in February, and they are eager to show off what they have accomplished in this difficult off season.

“I’m really hopeful for the season,” Lezama said. Everyone looks like we’ve been ready to be on the field since November. So I’m really excited to see what we have in store for February.”