by Marty Mayfield
NEW MEXICO — In her latest health order Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham put the axe to fall contact sports but left in question sports like volleyball, fall golf and cross country.
In conversation with Raton High Football Coach Tory Giacomo, he had the following comments about the news. “Despite COVID-19 and the surrounding events, it’s hard to fathom a fall without football. We all need to pull together to get through this year safely. Like I told the guys, we still have hope to play in the spring. We will find out more on July 15 from the NMAA. I know that their plan is to make it work to have all sports. My heart goes out to all our students and sports programs and coaches and even for this last spring and to all the seniors.”
When asked how he plans to get his players ready for a possible shortened late winter or spring football season he added. “As far as the players conditioning we have been working on their speed for the majority of the summer and if we can continue, we have two more weeks left of this cycle and then they will have two weeks off. From there I think it’s just a matter of getting together with Dr. Montoya (the new high school principal) and the other coaches to make a plan on which direction we go to next and that will depend on what we can do as far as practice and conditioning.”
The NMAA has a special meeting planned to discuss options for the upcoming school year, Giacomo had these thoughts, but as he mentions everything is subject tot change. “As far as football in the spring I really do not know but we will find out soon. There is talk of having football in February with a shortened season followed by having spring sports with a full season which would run through June. I have confidence that the NMAA will make it work. Right now things change daily so you never what is going happen.”
Any way you look at it, the small schools in New Mexico will likely see problems as many players play several sports, unlike the bigger schools where there are enough students to specialize and only play one sport. The other question is, where basketball will fit into the mix, and how coaches will share those multi sport players? It is also likely that big tourneys that draw the crowds such as the TSJC tourney or Cowbell, that normally play the first couple of weeks in December, will be strictly crowd limited if played at all.