Football Conquers COVID, Harsh Weather, and Opponents

John Eidbo

The Westminster Middle School Football teams have kicked off their seasons. Players are excited to get their seasons up and running, but the extreme weather and the new COVID variant have taken their seasons slightly off track. 

All parts of Westminster Athletics have been greatly affected by how the weather has been this year. Extreme heat and thunderstorms have caused Middle School football to have minimal practices going into the season. Practice has looked different, and coaches and players have had to improvise despite these harsh conditions.  “Weather has played a huge factor in dictating what weather makes practice look like,“ says 8th grade Head Coach Chad Laney.

7th grade Coach Walter Dupriest says that the team, despite their inexperience and the conditions, has responded well to adversity. “On the entry level of football, we have kids that have never played before and flag football players that are just putting on pads and hitting somebody for the first time,” says Dupriest. “But I feel as a coaching staff we’ve done the best job to prepare the players under these circumstances.“

With the seventh grade football team having a new Head Coach for the first time in over 23 years, Coach Dupriest and many players have great things to say about new Head Coach Scott Cain. “It’s been great. Coach Cain has stepped in with a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and has a great attitude,“ says DuPriest. Moreover, for the players, coach Cain doesn’t seem like a newcomer. “I didn’t know that; I’m very surprised, that’s super cool,” says 7th grade player Theo Herakavich.  “No I was not aware of that, but that’s great to know,” added 7th grader Charlie Sprinkle.
Last year the Middle School football teams were only able to do a small football clinic without pads or any real opponents due to the pandemic. Laney says, ”The real effect of COVID has really been some of the missed opportunities to play as a team on campus last year and amidst a season of official games against our rivals at other schools.” Nonetheless, each and every player is thankful that they get to play football this year. 


Westminster football emphasizes coming together as a family. All coaches and players will say that that’s how the team functions, like a family. Players learn how to be a family the moment they step into Westminster. The seventh grade team is coming along smoothly. ”Their learning, my sideline was better the second than the first, the players were really plugged in and cheering on each other and supporting the team,” says Coach DuPriest. “Part of being a family is looking out for each other and supporting each other during tough practices and games, even while we haven’t had lots of practices for that to develop. The more we play together and sweat together the more that concept becomes reality.”

Current players in the high school program look forward to what these middle schoolers will bring to the table in future years. “I think that with the addition of the 7th and 8th grade teams, we have a shot at winning the state championship.” says J.V football player Johnny Jackson. We wish the Wildcats luck in the remaining games of their season.