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Coaches wearing masks keeps Cardinals practicing

Coaches wearing masks keeps Cardinals practicing

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The fact that the Chadron High School football coaches have been wearing masks when they met on a daily basis to plan for the 2020 season, has allowed the Cardinals to dodge a probable shutdown as the team prepares for the opening game at home on Friday, Aug. 28 against the Chase County Longhorns.

Chadron High Head Coach Mike Lecher said this week that he knows of two high school football programs in eastern Nebraska that have been placed in quarantine by the Nebraska Health and Human Services for two weeks because they had a COVID-19 incident and their coaches had not been wearing masks when they met.

“Since Chadron also had some COVID cases last week, that probably would have happened to us if we hadn’t been able to tell the Panhandle Public Health people that we have been wearing masks,” Lecher said. “It would have put our practices on hold for 14 days and we probably would have had to cancel a couple of games.”

Lecher said even though his program “lucked out,” he remains concerned about what may happen before the season kicks off or also afterwards.

“It’s scary,” Lecher said, “Things are unsettled. But we’re practicing and preparing to play like everything’s fine. I certainly hope we get to play because the kids are working hard and we think we’re going to have a really good team.”

Lecher said the practice regimen was slowed twice last week because of the threat of lightning. The Cardinals practiced for just an hour on Tuesday and didn’t practice at all Wednesday, both times when heavy clouds and flashes of lightning appeared.

The discouraging part was, no rain was received either day to help break the drought.

The veteran coach said despite losing the practice time, the Cardinals are still not in trouble because they benefited greatly from attending the Chadron State College camp in mid-July.

“We had nearly all of our players at the camp, had some good scrimmages there and the players have retained what we did there,” Lecher said. “The carryover from the camp has been really good.”

This year’s team has a dozen seniors along and 21 juniors, giving it excellent maturity. Lecher said he believes the Red Birds will be solid in every segment of their game with the offensive line perhaps the strongest area. The team also has some promising receivers and running backs.

The defense includes senior linebackers Sawyer Haag and Aiden Vaughn, who combined to lead the team in tackles with 115 last fall, when the Cards finished 5-4.

The Junior Class has received a big boost with the addition of four transfers, each of them good-sized prospects. They are Justus Alcorn, 6-foot-4, 190-pounds; Jerek Anderson, 6-4, 240; Ryan Bickle, 6-2, 235; and Teagan Scoggan, 6-0, 190.

Alcorn and junior Dawson Dunbar are challenging for the starting quarterback nod. Lecher said no matter which one starts under center, both will be on the field a lot. Alcorn can also play receiver and Dunbar is a running back. Both also are expected to play defense. Dunbar was in on 33 tackles a year ago.

The other three transfers are linemen whom Lecher said will at least be in the varsity rotations on both sides of the line.

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