Rome, NY - “Well, if you told me last year that I would be in a new stadium that's just empty and will not be playing right now I would think you're crazy but it's a different time now but we always got to adapt you know,” said Bilie Mays, Rome Free Academy senior lineman.
This week would've been week three of the high school football season but instead there's empty seats and empty sidelines. After tumultuous summer full of weighing uncertainty the New York State Public High School Athletic Association called an audible and move the high school season to the spring.
For Head Coach Jake DerCola on Fridays he feels out of place.
“Friday nights are always stuff I look forward to and I don't remember the last time of not - in the fall - being a Friday night not having a game to go watch, to go coach, to go play in so it definitely feels a little weird. Like I just know it's that empty feeling in your gut,” said DerCola.
A football season isn't comprised of just games but a time to build relationships.
“The family aspect, you know, even if it was just a practice, just in the locker room or just being around all my best friends, people who have grown up with it's just the best feeling of playing with them,” said Mays.
“Probably like just coming out and seeing the lights on just seeing everybody out here supporting us probably that,” said Even DeLutis, RFA senior quarterback.
For these seniors, the thought of losing their final high school season like spring senior athletes did is daunting.
But the optimism of a spring season keeps them motivated, in a brand new stadium at that
“It's been a lot of talk in our town of the new turf. I know people are driving by and looking to get on our field to just walk on it or so. A couple of our players it's their first time out here, you can see the look in their eyes, they can only imagine the first game they will have out here and that doesn't just go for football that goes for any sport on the new turf.”
The Rome City School District approved interscholastic participation for all its junior varsity and varsity level fall sports teams, with the exception of football and competitive cheer that will compete during the Fall Sports Season II in March.