The Baltimore County football season was supposed to start March 5, but the opener was delayed until at least March 12 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
For Dulaney High varsity offensive coordinator Paul Thompson, the delay may be a blessing in disguise.
When asked a day before the postponed opening game against Franklin if the 37 players on the Lions roster would have been ready to play, Thompson responded: “We are not ready to play a game tomorrow, it would be more like in the summer when you get that first scrimmage.”
Thompson and head coach Daron Reid are still evaluating talent.
“Some guys, we’ve never seen them go live and some guys you know they are ready,” Thompson said.
The other seniors on the roster include Noah Dow (HB, DE, LB), Benjamin Ellis (WR, DE), Robbie Gehman (TE, DE), Katrell Glover (TE, LB), Izeiek Lee (WR, DB) and Myron Saunders (TE, DE).
The squad also includes 15 juniors. Since they will not have a JV squad, there are five sophomores and six freshmen on the varsity.
“They are young, but every day we see some improvement, especially some guys like freshmen Sean Center and Evan Mowbray,” Thompson said. “They didn’t miss any of the virtual stuff so when we went out on the field and started talking Xs and Os they knew exactly where to be.”
Getting on the grass football field hasn’t been easy because of inclement weather, but the Lions have found other alternatives.
“We are just making it happen, in the parking lot, tennis court, the back of the school,” Thompson said.
The Lions not only proved they could handle the different practice surfaces, but they also maintained focus after they found out the season would be delayed.
“They were disappointed,” Thompson said. “We told them if you want to walk away, no hard feelings, but we can’t promise you a game, but they were all like ‘No coach, we are riding it out, if we play, we play, if we don’t, we don’t but we are just happy to be out here. Our kids have been great.”
The coaching staff is also taking a realistic approach.
“We are telling our seniors we are getting you ready for college and we will tape some practices if we have to get some film, but hopefully we get some game film, and for the juniors and the younger guys, it is getting you ready for next year, it’s like a spring practice,” Thompson said. “The freshmen kids who wouldn’t have got to learn the plays, they get to learn the plays on the fly.”