Our North Atlanta Football team has begun preparing for another action-packed season after the team advanced to the playoffs last year for the first time in 25 years. Under new Head Coach James Aull, the team is hopeful for another playoff shot this year, and to make some significant noise in its new 6A 4 region. During this unprecedented time of virtual learning and COVID fears, our Warriors have managed to focus on the upcoming season.
With the pandemic in full swing, the team has had restrictions placed on practices and workouts. Players are still allowed to practice on the field in full, but some restrictions have been placed on indoor ventures. For any school building activities such as weightlifting, the team must practice social distancing and wear masks. The team can only have a limited number of players in the weight room at a time, and there are some players who’ve expressed fears that these restrictions are hurting team morale. “With all the new regulations in place, it’s harder to build camaraderie and fire each other up,” said team captain Ned Coleman.
Not only has the team had to deal but with new rules, but so have the fans. Like all other schools within the Atlanta Public School district, North Atlanta will currently not allow any fans at home games at Grady Stadium this year. Luckily for our Warriors, a limited number of fans will be permitted at away games. So for North Atlanta students — particularly the seniors who are looking for some last football season memories — there’s high hopes for in-the-stands fun during the 2020 football season. “Of course I wish we could have fans, but we want to play some ball,” said senior quarterback Jack O’Kelly. “I can’t wait until we have a student section that will get the whole team fired up.”
Recently, due to a COVID case on the team, our Warriors will not be able to play their first game at Wheeler high school, and all practice-related activities have been canceled for two weeks. Although this may seem like a massive setback for the Warriors, Coleman feels that this will give them time to be more mentally prepared for upcoming games. “I’m disappointed that we can’t play our first game against Wheeler, but we are eager to get back on the field and pad up,” said Coleman.
Although there are unprecedented uncertainties about the season ahead of them, the 2020 football Warriors are confident that they can make the most of it and play on.