New York high school fall sports are set to begin Sept. 21. On Thursday, we learned section II will be participating.
Section II schools, including local schools Cambridge and Hoosick Falls, will be allowed to compete in cross country, field hockey, golf, boys and girls soccer, girls swimming and girls tennis according to New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) guidelines.
Tom Husser is the girls soccer coach at Hoosick Falls. He also serves as the school athletic director. Husser said athletes are ready to compete on the field this fall after the coronavirus canceled spring sports throughout the country.
"I'm happy for the kids," Husser said. "They're like little excited puppies."
Husser said the athletes at Hoosick Falls have been eager to get back to their sports.
"They've been excited all summer," Husser said. "They just want to get out on the field to play."
There will be a few sports not participating. On Wednesday, NYSPHSAA voted to postpone football, volleyball and competitive until March 1, 2021 "to address membership concerns associated with high-risk fall sports."
Locally, both Cambridge and Hoosick Falls have a football program. Cambridge offers a volleyball program. Hoosick Falls offers fall cheer. These athletes will now have to wait another six months to compete in their sport.
Cambridge football coach Doug Luke was not surprised by the decision.
"I don't think there was anything else they could really do," Luke said. "With all the regulations that they have to do in school, to play football (in the fall) sounded quite impossible."
The revised season for football, volleyball and fall competitive cheer will be known as "Fall Sports Season II" and may officially begin practices on March 1, 2021.
One big positive Luke draws from this decision to hold football in the spring is the ability for every athlete to play their true position in a traditional 11-on-11 tackle football season.
"I would rather wait until then and actually have everybody have the ability to be able to play," Luke said.
In Vermont, the Vermont Principals' Association decided to hold a 7-on-7 one hand touch football season. The linemen will compete in quarters one and three, while the skill position players will battle it out in quarters two and four.
Section II announced their will not be any sectional playoffs this fall. There will not be statewide tournaments either, the NYSPHSAA announced over the summer.
Husser said the decision to not hold any form of playoffs this year is a tough pill for the athletes to swallow.
"I feel bad because I know some of the kids are like 'why are we playing when we're not playing for anything,'" Husser said.
At the end of the day, there will be fall sports for Section II, and that alone makes a lot of people happy.
"I think the kids just want to play the games," Husser said. "They're happy to play."
The fall season will run from Sept. 21 until Nov. 28. Section II is allowing each individual school district decide on whether or not they compete in fall sports in 2020.