Baldwin coach calls for GHSA to make decision on high school football

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The high school football season is set to kick-off September 4, but the pandemic is ongoing. Cases continue to rise along with the death toll.

Should we really have a high school football season?

“At the end of the day, if it’s unsafe, we shouldn’t be playing,” said Baldwin head football coach Jesse Hicks. “I wish more coaches would step up and say that because they’ll call me and say oh, I agree with everything you’re saying but you’re not saying anything to the Georgia High School Association or your local board.”

Hicks says football shouldn’t be played if you’re going to risk the lives of the young athletes.

“Football can not ever trump life. These kids lives are way more important than playing a football game. I wish those who are in charge thought that way. I can’t control what they think. I can’t control that narrative, but should we be playing football right now? I don’t think we should.”

On July 20, the GHSA voted to move forward with a season, but delay the start of it two weeks. Teams will still play 10 regular-season games, and all playoff games.

But COVID-19 still impacts teams in Middle Georgia.

Veterans and Wilcox County have temporarily suspended practice because of positive COVID-19 tests. Twiggs County won’t even play football this year because of health concerns.

“Well Twiggs County decided to go all virtual and they decided not to have fall sports,” said GHSA executive director Robin Hines. “That’s something that I’m talking about. That’s certainly their choice to do so. If that’s what their board and superintendent feels like is best for their community, that’s what it is”

Warner Robins is looking for its fourth straight state title appearance this year. The Demons came up short last season, but are looking to right the ship.

The question

However, the question becomes, what’s more important: health or sports?

“Oh man, those kids. That’s the most important thing,” said Warner Robins head coach Marquis Westbrook. “We have to keep them safe. I love football. I love sports, but these kids, they have to be safe and we’re trying to make sure that they stay safe. And if we can get both of them in, that’ll be a blessing.”

Coach Hicks has one last message for the GHSA: “I hope the Georgia High School Association realizes there are a group of us who don’t agree with this,” said Hicks. “I’m going to do my job because these kids need us, but at the end of the day it’s your decision to make to make sure our kids are safe. And I think right now we’re going in the wrong direction.”

 

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