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Spirit of Acadiana: Middle School Football Returns

Spirit of Acadiana - Youth Football.jpg
Posted at 7:42 PM, Jan 25, 2021

LAFAYETTE, La. — Last fall, a number of principals and athletics directors with Acadiana’s private middle schools decided to swap a number of fall sports with the winter and spring sports, and vice versa.

One of those sports was football, and with winter/spring football just beginning, one might wonder: is football that isn’t in the fall still 'football'?

"It's football,” says Daniel Gautreaux, assistant athletics director at Ascension Episcopal School in Youngsville who also serves as scheduling guru for the Christian Schools Football League.

“We're gonna’ play regular football, with our normal adaptations for fifth and sixth, seventh and eighth grade," he said.

But again, it's still football.

Twenty-two teams from 13 Christian-based schools will take part between now and mid-March.

The most recent high school football -held in the Fall - served as sort of the template for the middle school program.

"But watching the high schools get safely through their seasons,” begins St. Pius Catholic School Head Football Coach Brady Bell. “We thought this was the best opportunity to get our young kids to be able to safely get through their seasons. Spring football? While it's not the norm; what is in 2020?"

Technically, it is the 2020 football season, just extended a bit into 2021.

Bell says instead of opting out, he's actually had some players "opt-in" because of the calendar change and perhaps because of the desire just to participate in a school activity deemed quote-unquote ‘normal.'

And no one, offers Bell, assumes the season will go without incident, without cancellations, postponements or quarantines.

But this union of rival schools turned into teammates - gives him hope.

“We think we're going to get through this season safely,” he says. “Obviously we know there's going to be some hiccups along the way. Not just a smooth ride. But everybody came on board to make this happen."

In fact, just prior to this past weekend’s jamboree, two of the teams had to quarantine and Gautreaux and Company had to reshuffle the deck to give all of the teams a game.

“But we got it done,” explains Gautreaux. “The high schools taught us how we needed to be flexible and ready for last-minute changes, and we were able to make it work. But it’s just great to be able to give these kids a chance to play in the game they love.”

The Christian Schools Football League will play six games in seven weeks. And who knows? Winter/Spring football, says Gautreaux, may be here to stay.

“We’ll get together and look at it with the administrators after the season, and yeh, who knows?” he says.

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