Neighbor states kept on sidelines as Tennessee gears up for high school football next week

High School Sports

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A week from tonight, high school football will kickoff in Tennessee.

But in states surrounding Northeast Tennessee, it’ll be quiet.

In Virginia, the VHSL postponed high school football and all fall sports, creating a brand new calendar for the athletic school year.

“One of the important factors was no season is canceled, competitions have been delayed our student athletes are still allowed to condition and workout until then,” VHSL executive director Dr. Billy Haun said.

Fall sports will now start practice February 15 with the first contest set for March 1.

North Carolina made the decision this week to bump high school football into 2010. Practice is now set to start on February 8 with the first game set for February 26.

“It was really a day to day thing week to week thing so now knowing we’re set there’s a schedule set and a plan in place I think has actually relieved some people,” Avery County High School athletic director Jay Smith said.

North Carolina’s Avery Co. High School is quite close to the Tennessee line, and frequently plays games against Carter County Schools. They were scheduled to play Cloudland before the NCHSAA said no.

“They’re trying to do what’s best for kids to stay safe but it’s hard on our kids to see Cloudland seven miles away and them practicing,” Smith said.

It’s also tough for Kentucky teams like Bell County High School, who sits just miles from the Tennessee border and frequently plays teams out of Knoxville.

“I’ve never had a fall like this before I really don’t know how to act it’s been hard on me just like it’s been on the players,” Bell Co. High School head football coach Dudley Hilton said.

But Kentucky still has football set for the fall, with the first day of practice currently set for August 24 and the first game on September 11.

“I really think we’re gonna play in Kentucky I think it’s gonna be probably play your district and then get in your playoffs and things like that but I think we’ll play a state championship in late December,” Hilton said.

As everything starts to play out, Avery Co. and Bell Co. say they’re not jealous, they’re rooting Tennessee on.

“I just hope that they get to play and things stay consistent in East Tennessee,” Smith said.

“You just hope they continue to play you hope it don’t get shut down you hope everything works out for them,” Hilton said.

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