CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — High school football in Central Virginia starts back next week and Matoaca High School’s head coach said, after dealing with this pandemic, being back out on the field is going to mean the world to players at every school.
Studying plays with his eyes on the end zone, Coach Justin Parker says his boys are ready for next Friday’s game against Meadowbrook High School.
“There is nothing better than a Friday night under the lights,” Parker said.
Hitting the field for the first time since before the pandemic has a special meaning to him.
“It means a lot to them to be able to get back out there,” Parker said. “They’ve been so excited. Some of them have countdowns. It’s been 460-some-odd days since they were able to suit it up last November.”
The stands won’t be as full, but Parker says it doesn’t matter what team you are on because for players, being able to finally suiting up and playing the game they love is the most important thing.
“We all need this,” Parker said. “The opposing teams, the opposing coaches, people all over the state — we need this. This brings so much joy to so many people.”
He says seeing the kids back in their uniforms and using the outlet they love is the true importance of next Friday.
“They’ve been through so much, and so have we as a community and as a country,” Parker said. “It’s been really tough for a lot of people. In football, seeing the kids out there smiling and having a good time — that’s what it is really all about.”