Eight-man football is happening after all in Norwood, with practices beginning last Thursday. The Mavericks first game is set for Oct. 9, when the team will travel to play West Grand.
Norwood Public School’s athletic director Kyle Dinsmore said the district got notified roughly a week ago that the Colorado High School’s Activities Association decided to let the kids play this fall. That was after getting approval from the governor to play football, field hockey and cheerleading — all outdoor sports — and move them back to the fall season.
Volleyball, since it’s an indoor sport, is still not approved yet.
Dinsmore the football season has been shortened to include seven games. There is a six-game schedule, but that could be longer if the Mavericks make the playoffs. If the team doesn’t go to the playoffs, they’ll still have the ability to book a seventh game.
The Maverick team has approximately 30 kids this year, including students traveling from Nucla and Telluride. Dinsmore said to have that many was impressive.
Seniors this year are Ethan Case, Aiden Ingram, Broc Joseph, Riley Porter, Sam Puderbaugh, Logan Weimer and Tyler Wytulka.
Several juniors are also playing varsity football this year, too.
Led by head coach John Hickey, assistants are Brandon Morris of Norwood and Jack Robison of Nucla.
Some restrictions exist for spectators, but Dinsmore said he wasn’t sure all of those would affect Norwood. Masks are required for those attending games — a rule all are supposed to abide by. He said he knows it will be hard to police the masks, but the state is asking all schools to do so.
Players, too, are expected to wear them when not on the field and in the game directly.
Dinsmore said the crowd is limited to 175 people, but Norwood doesn’t typically see that many in the stands or on the sidelines.
“I’d be surprised if we have to worry about that number,” he said.
Temperature checks at the gate are in place also, per the state’s regulations. Dinsmore said the rules are the “hoops the school has to jump through to get to play.”
The first home game for Norwood is Oct. 16 and the boys play Mancos that night. Homecoming and whether that will happen is still up in the air. Dinsmore said he knows the high school kids on student council are discussing it.
The date for homecoming was moved when football got switched to a spring sport due to the pandemic. With football back on for fall now, it’s made the planning of homecoming a challenge, especially because of the dance.
Dinsmore agreed the guys are ready to play football. He said the fall option was better for Norwood in general, since the field in March is usually snowy and nobody can be sure what will happen in the spring with regard to the pandemic. According to Dinsmore, something like 80 percent of teams made the same choice to move football back to fall.
Coach Hickey said he is happy to get started.
“We are thrilled to be back on the field,” he said. “The kids are ready to get back to normal life.’