RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools have canceled this school year’s fall sports seasons, according to several members of the athletic department staff. Fall sports practices can begin on Feb. 4 in accordance with VHSL guidelines. This is the fall sports season that was supposed to start in September 2020.
Representatives from the school system have not returned a request for comment.
This means that no high school football will be played among the five city schools, Armstrong, George Wythe, Huguenot, John Marshall and Thomas Jefferson. In addition to football, cross country, cheerleading, volleyball, golf and field hockey field fall seasons.
Willie Gillus III is getting set for his first season as John Marshall’s head football coach. In light of the news that there would be no season, he’s been trying to provide positivity to his players.
“I’ve just been trying to keep them upbeat,” Gillus said on Wednesday night. “Let’s focus on something, let’s find something to set our goals towards instead of trying to be down about not playing football at this time.”
“I think it’s almost eye-opening because I remember when I was playing, coaches always said ‘hey, any day now this sport could be taken away from you,’” the Justices’ head coach continued. “That’s kind of what happened here. Football was taken away from us at this time. It’s nothing anybody had control over.”
Gillus says he’ll have his players focus on academics and spend time evaluating them. He’ll also remind his returning players that the fall isn’t that far away. All in all, he thinks it’s an experience that can improve the chemistry in the locker room.
“We look at it as adversity and we always look for fighting over adversity and beating it,” he said. “It’ll be a time where we’ll have the conversation and say ‘hey guys, you remember we didn’t have this, we didn’t have football last year, so let’s lock-in and take the best of what we have in front of us and go from there.’”
Spokesmen from Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover school systems all tell NBC12 that their respective fall sports seasons are on as scheduled.
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