With the regular season over after Friday's win at South Oldham, Franklin County football coach Eddie James had turned his attention to the postseason.
“I was at my office Saturday at 7 a.m., and around 8 I got an email and thought, ‘Well, that changes things,’” James said.
The email, from KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, said that the state football playoffs, scheduled to start Friday, would be delayed a week because of COVID-19 concerns.
Like James, Frankfort High football coach Craig Foley was surprised by the scheduling change.
“I had no idea,” Foley said. “I’ve talked to other coaches, and they’ve talked to other people, and they had no idea either.
“It was Saturday morning about 8. I found out the same time the rest of the state did, when I opened an email from Julian.”
FCHS and FHS both finished second in their districts and will host first-round playoff games on Nov. 20. The Flyers will play Shelby County, and Frankfort will take on Eminence.
“It could be really good for our football team,” James said about the delay. “We have some kids who are nicked up and sore, and it gives them an extra week to get better and play again. It’s a very good thing for us.”
Among those banged up is senior quarterback Nick Broyles, who hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury against Louisville Central on Oct. 24.
It could also benefit FHS junior Azeno Williams, the team’s leading rusher, who hurt his ankle in the first half of Friday’s game against Henry County and played very limited minutes in the second half.
“Our kids just want to play,” James said. “Some of them are a little bummed, but the ones who are banged up are excited. This gives them a little more time.”
An extra week for Williams to heal from his ankle injury is the one bright spot Foley sees in the delay.
“I would rather keep playing,” he said. “For us it’s keeping them actively involved, especially with basketball starting up. It’s like a dead week, and we want to keep them sharp.
“We’ll have to be creative as a staff to keep them involved. Our practice schedule will be the same, to keep them in a routine, and we’ll have to figure out about Friday.”
For both coaches, the concern with the delay is if the season continues.
“The way the numbers are, my concern is if we’re even going to play any games,” Foley said. “So much of the state is red, and the numbers are only climbing. What will they do next week if 100 counties in the state are red? That’s the biggest concern I have, that we get to play these games.”
In a press release Friday, Tackett addressed the possibility of the season continuing.
“One of the deciding factors in this situation is determining what course of action to take given today’s information, that we feel gives our students the best chance to have a postseason experience,” he said.
“We have been calculated and strategic throughout this process and will continue to do so during these extremely challenging times, with the students’ health and ability to participate both being at the forefront of our minds.”
Planning for something two weeks in advance can be challenging with COVID news that changes daily.
“With the way the world is right now, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” James said. “A lot of things can change in two weeks. There’s a bit of concern, but I trust the people making the decisions. They’ve done right by us, letting us get out there and play. We’ll see.”