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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It has the feel of football in the fall at small Kansas City colleges, clear skies during the day or a nice quiet evening, the sound of the band and the sound of the announcer, but this isn’t early September. This is April.
“When they cut the schedule and said we had a two-part season, it was like we weren’t going to play in April. But as the season progressed, it became increasingly clear that we were actually playing in the spring. It’s a crazy feeling, ”said Christian Hopkins, Senior Wide Receiver.
He’s not wrong. At Avila, April 3 was Senior Day, after the first game was September 12.
Well, it hasn’t been easy. They’re not with their families all the time, they can’t hang out and have fun, we still have a global pandemic to worry about and make sure we do our part, “Marc Benavidez, Avila’s football coach, said.
The Eagles have had four postponements and one cancellation. They’ve been doing COVID tests since the summer and practiced in November.
“We had a workout where there was snow outside, two inches of snow, seven in the morning and it’s all worth it, make sure we put these seniors in a position to get on top of it,” Benavidez said.
While Avila was dealing with Senior Day, William Jewell was dealing with the first game. Mike McGlinchey was hired in January 2020. He took charge of his first game more than a year later, in April 2021.
‘I’m not crazy right now, so I think we all turned out fine. The tenacity of our players to stick to it, to be flexible, our coaching staff, has been great, ”said McGlinchey.
“After just like the last 500 days since the last game I played until yesterday, I think we’ve made tremendous progress,” said Will Schneider, William Jewell Quarterback.
To keep the team engaged, senior captains like Schneider made sure to send players proof that they were training while off campus in anticipation of the three-game season.
“Obviously when we saw 3 games, we were looking for 3 wins, that’s the mindset,” said McGlinchey.
“It’s in the spring, but we treat it like any opening match it would be if it were in the fall. So we’ve done well to stay focused, knowing that setbacks will come and things that are different, but they can’t matter to us, ”said Schneider.
So for small college football programs in the area and really around the country, the tricky schedule, the longest wait ever for a season is all worth it simply because they love the game.
“You like a football coach, you like watching the players play football, so this is probably going to be the best year of my life,” said McGlinchey.
“Very proud to know what some of the boys had to endure. From a social point of view, there’s a pandemic going on, academics, everything, it’s something we’re proud of, ”said Benavidez.
“I love my teammates, my coaches, the faculty, the staff, the trainers, I’ve been here for 5 years and it was a great time,” said Devin Senerius, Avila wide receiver.
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