Entering a fall football slate in the midst of a pandemic, Missouri Western officials knew the reality of what the Griffons faced last week was possible, if not inevitable.
Very few teams playing football haven’t felt the scheduling affects of COVID-19, and the Griffons finally did when last week’s contest at West Texas A&M was called off — that after the MIAA decided to forgo a season.
Head coach Matt Williamson tested positive in last week’s round of tests, news that brought him to an empty stomach.
“It’s not fair I’m not gonna be able to go and compete with this team and battle with them, that was the toughest thing,” Williamson said. “As we found out another staff member and another player tested positive for it, plus positives at West Texas, it just didn’t work this past weekend.”
Missouri Western is optimistic of a return to the field in its fall finale Saturday at Nebraska-Kearney, which also missed a game last week when South Dakota School of Mines announced positive cases in the team.
Williamson, who says his only noticeable symptom has been fatigue, said that protocols will allow him to travel separately to Kearney, Nebraska, on Friday and come out of quarantine Saturday to coach against the Lopers. Western missed members of its defensive staff for its first two games and is optimistic it will have the entire crew ready for Saturday.
Pending any further outbreak, with positives among player tests being minimal this fall, Western will practice this week and play its final game of the fall.
“I’m excited about coming back. The best thing is I’m gonna be able to come back Friday, won’t be able to travel with the team but will be able to drive myself, compete and go against Kearney, one last time this fall to get together with these guys,” Williamson said.
Williamson has stayed dialed in through Zoom meetings and has remained in the basement of his home, watching extensive amounts of football over the weekend while reading books, listening to podcasts and catching up on end-of-the-year administrative duties.
If all goes well, he’s excited for the chance to put on a different headset and grab his play sheet for one last time this fall.
“We’re not gonna miss a beat,” Williamson said. “Our kids are really excited about getting this chance to play Kearney. Those guys are ready to rip it.”