The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference is moving forward with all fall sports, including high school football, but it’s a different story in New Haven where the school district has canceled high school football competition in the fall.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Hillhouse senior Gianni Bethea.
“You work so hard as a senior and this is your last year and this is your last chance to put out there what you have and you can’t and everyone around you can,” said Wilbur Cross senior Jabez Cubiz. “It’s a hard hit to take.”
“There are worse states and towns in the nation that have worse corona rates than Connecticut but New Haven itself, one city you’re taking away, that’s not fair at all,” added Bethea.
City leaders say they understand the frustration but have received guidance that it is safer not to play.
“We’re following the guidelines of the state Department of Public Health and find it concerning that the CIAC is disregarding those guidelines,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
Coaches still believe not enough is being done to ensure kids receive the benefits of structured extra-curricular activities.
“What are you doing to replace taking away football from these kids,” asked Hillhouse football head coach Reggie Lytle. “I have yet to get an answer from them.”
“Football is what keeps me going,” said Cubiz. “When I wake up, I have something to work towards. Taking it away, it’s like what do I do? For me I feel like this is all I have.”
“Anything that they do that makes them who they are and completes them does not exist right now and I’m just hoping someone wakes up and goes maybe that piece is a little more valuable and worth taking a chance to play some sports,” said Wilbur Cross football head coach John Acquavita.
Conditioning is still allowed in New Haven but no high school football practices or competition are permitted in the fall.
“I know that’s not playing games and that can be tough but we got to focus on safety first,” said Elicker.