The Last Quarter

RV’s football season comes to an abrupt end amid rising cases of Covid-19



Leading their team onto the field arm in arm, senior captains Anthony Hugee, Arnold Young and Maurice Obanor basked under the Friday night lights in their final game against Moorestown.

Jya Marshall, Assistant Sports Editor

Beginning in March of 2020, sports teams and athletes of all levels, professional, collegiate and high school experienced a state of uncertainty as the recent Covid-19 pandemic threatened the possibility of having a season.  Moreover, all spring sports tournaments and events were unfortunately canceled due to the number of cases continuing to flourish across the country.  Even now, nine months later, sports teams such as the RV football team are still experiencing the effects of the pandemic, but have been permitted to play under unprecedented, strict regulations.  Missing the memorable roars from the crowd, loud chants from the student section, and cheers from the cheerleaders on the sidelines, the RV football team endured a season like never before. 

After returning to practice from two mandated weeks of quarantine, the RV varsity football team headed home from practice holding on to the hope that they would play Shawnee the following afternoon.  However, when an email circulated to the team notifying families that a player had contracted the virus later that night, the entire football team’s season was suddenly cut short and the athletes were required to be tested and quarantined. 

Having a late start to their season, the team had to overcome numerous challenges due to the rapid spread of Covid-19, as the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) considered football to be a high-risk contact sport. With this in consideration, the team and coaching administrations had difficulty keeping the players spread apart and limiting touching as the virus is easily spread through contact.

Fortunately, some procedures were implemented in an attempt to ensure the athletes’ safety: frequent temperature checks, completing daily health forms, mandating face coverings, contact tracing, and ensuring that athletes remain safely socially distanced.  In compliance with NJ state regulations, the team additionally had to limit the number of players and only permitted sixty players to get dressed for games.

“In the beginning, I was extremely depressed about our season being cut short,” said Senior defensive end Enzo Soares. “But, I slowly began to realize how lucky we were to even be able to have a season.  I know that many other states’ high school seniors were unable to fully fulfill their high school career; I’m just happy I could have a taste of it.”

After realizing that this year would be the last year he would put on an RV jersey, Soares encourages the underclassmen to enjoy every moment on the field, to remain motivated in their training and to always remember that all things are possible when you work together.

Normally, the varsity football season would consist of approximately eight regular-season games, three playoff games, an annual Thanksgiving game, and if qualified, a final state championship game. However, considering the effects of the pandemic and continuous gaps in the season due to weeks of quarantine, as well as the closure of RV, the RV varsity team only played four games and ended with a 2-2 record; winning against Pennsauken and Moorestown, and losses against Burlington Township and Lenape. The JV football team finished with a record of 3-0, and the freshmen concluded the season with a 4-0 record.

“With all the challenges we had this year, we adapted by staying focused on winning games and overall, enjoying the sport that we all love,” said senior captain and running back, Anthony Hugee. Because this season was extremely abnormal and short, many seniors were not able to have the senior season they have dreamed of since freshman year but, when they stepped on the field, they enjoyed and cherished every moment of it and played as if they would never have the chance to play again.

Not only were teams and players affected by the pandemic, but the RV student life, community, and the environment at football games were completely altered. Football games allowed the entire school and community to come together while enjoying the game of football and cheering their boys on. Every Friday night, the stands would be full of families and friends, overflowing with music from the band, dances from the beautiful majorettes, cheers from the lively cheerleaders and chants from the student sections composed of RV pride.

When asked to describe the RV community in one word, several athletes said “family” including Soares. “The RV football community is truly the greatest thing I could have ever asked for in high school,” he said. “From the team, coaches, staff, and especially our fan club. Rv football is truly something else.”

Due to the number of individuals that usually gather at football games, the RV administration decided to limit the number of spectators and distributed only two spectator tickets per athlete for each game. As a result, the stands were empty compared to how packed they used to be in previous years.

In her sophomore year at RV, Jessica Kerchner reflects on how much she enjoyed going to football games with her friends during her freshman year. She said, “I miss being able to bond and have fun with my peers at football games and all the school unity and the positivity that was present at each one.”

As the fall sports season comes to a close, the entire RV football team, athletes and coaches, remained grateful that they were able to have a season and have their seniors play as RV Devils one final time before they begin their journey beyond high school.  Players and coaching staff successfully worked together to ensure that the team followed safety guidelines, while proceeding to improve their skills, techniques and training. Despite their season being cut short, the boys continued to prevail and overcome the adversities thrown their way and left everything on the field.