Boys varsity football gets ready for season like no other


Photo used with permission of Aiden Gobaira

Junior Aiden Gobaira lines up to defend in his game against Osbourne Park High School last season.

Terra Nagai, Sports Editor

Six games instead of 10, matches in the winter instead of the fall and a wide team box instead of a compact one are some of the many changes made to the boys varsity football team’s season this year. With these adjustments in place, student athletes can still enjoy playing football alongside their teammates while reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19, with additional sanitization of locker rooms before team arrival and social distance protocols in place. 

Preparations for the new season have also differed this year, and junior Mehul Pol believes there are both ups and downs in the new schedule.

“Even though we have had more time, training hasn’t been easy because we can’t work as a group or use the weight room,” Pol said. “I had to alter my training regime significantly because I don’t have a bench or bar at home to do the compound exercises I usually work on.”

Because the season was postponed to late February, football players’ schedules have changed. Additionally, players that play sports other than football in the winter have schedules different from those that only play football, so senior Ryan Boehlert believes that training has become even harder.

It’s been far more difficult this year to train as a team, but everyone on the team knows the importance of staying in shape,” Boehlert said. “Also, unlike in years past, some of the players are occupied with winter sports and aren’t able to make it to the conditioning sessions, so we have even less time to practice as an entire team.”

The first game of the season will be on Feb. 22 against Edison High School at home, and the rivalry game against Oakton High School will be on March 19 at Oakton. The postseason will begin on April 7 and end on May 1. 

There is also a limit to the number of attendees, as the number of people permitted at any sport event cannot exceed 50 percent of a facility’s capacity or 250 individuals, including the players and staff. This means that fans are allowed, however only very few will be able to attend. The Chantilly Athletics Youtube channel will be streaming the games live for those that are unable to watch the game in person and will post the games right after the buzzer.

In addition to a later start in the season, the Virginia High School League added new rules such as an intermission between periods and scoring and the sanitization of football equipment. However, with most of the rules largely being the same, the game of football itself will remain the way athletes remember it to be.

“I don’t think the rules will affect our play at all, but they are necessary to be safe,” Gobaira said. “As long as we play, I’m happy.”

Due to the season being cut short, the team will have less time to get used to new teammates and opposition. Despite this setback, Pol believes that the season will benefit the team overall.

As a player, I tend to get better throughout the season as I get more acclimated with techniques and schemes, so that’ll be slightly more difficult for me [this season],” Pol said. “However, usually by the end of the regular season, most players are beaten up and worn down by all 10 games, so the season will be less tiring on players this time around and allow for fresher teams in the postseason.”

Although there have been many changes and difficulties throughout the pre-season, Gobaira believes that if there’s one thing that has been maintained or improved, it is the team itself.

No teams are going to look the same, but I think we have the potential to be the best team in recent years at Chantilly,” Gobaira said.