PHILIPPI, W.Va. – When the Philip Barbour football team takes the field Friday night to face Lincoln, it’ll be the first time the Colts will be playing a game in over a month.
A September 25 contest against Elkins was the last game Philip Barbour played.
In the meantime, Barbour County has turned Red, Green, and every color in between in the daily COVID-19 color-coded maps by the WV DHHR and the weekly maps by the WV Department of Education.
But with Barbour County showing up as Green on Saturday’s map, and the county’s overall COVID-19 numbers improving mightily over the past few weeks, the Colts are finally able to return to action.
“I think everybody’s excited. Anything is better than practicing,” head coach Russ Collett said with a chuckle. “And before we couldn’t even do that. The boys are excited. They want to hit somebody in a different colored shirt. We know what’s going on. But, we’re excited to get out and be back on the grass.”
Philip Barbour (0-4) has only played four games this year, and 35 days have gone by since its last contest. Over that time, the Colts had three straight weeks of no football team activities and were finally able to return to the practice field last week.
“Our school system, we had a pretty bad outbreak. Even though we weren’t Red, the transmission rate was far higher than acceptable, so we went remote learning,” Collett said. “We had three solid weeks that we couldn’t even condition, other than to suggest and give them a workout.
“That was my concern,” he continued. “The main reason we didn’t play North Marion (last week), we were sore on Thursday from trying to run a little bit, and get back in shape.”
To make up one of the games they missed, Collett and the company have scheduled a game for next Tuesday, Nov. 3, against Meadow Bridge. It will be the first home game for Philip Barbour since Sept. 18.
“We have worked on some things. We kind of tried to go back where we left off,” Collett said. “We’re very young. So, we’re working on fundamentals every chance we get, and just trying to get better. … For us, it feels like almost ever week is Week 1.”
With having not played in over a month, and going three consecutive weeks without and practice, Collett admitted there were questions about whether or not the Colts would return to the field this season.
“It was a big concern. At some point we discussed not playing anymore,” he said. “When you’re off three or four weeks, and you can’t condition, my concern is about safety. It’s not that I didn’t want to play, it’s that I don’t want to get anybody hurt. That was the concern. If we would’ve stayed remote one more week, we probably would not have played anymore games.”
Philip Barbour is scheduled to play at Lincoln on Friday. The Colts will then host Meadow Bridge on Tuesday, and the finish the regular season on the road at Oak Glen.
The WVSSAC has given teams that won’t make the playoffs the option to schedule exhibition games during the postseason, thus giving teams the chance to get as close to the normal allotment of ten games in as possible.
Philip Barbour won’t play after the Nov. 6 end of the regular season, though. Collett sights a large number of players on his team that also play winter sports, who will need to attend workouts for those teams.