COVID-19 vs Apopka Football

COVID-19 vs Apopka Football

Glorienid Mercado Gotay, Staff Writer

For many years the ongoing tradition of Apopka High’s Friday Night Lights has been something every student, teacher, and athlete has looked forward to. It has been one of the most memorable things we as a community can experience, hanging out with friends and standing in the student section cheering on our team. Now we can only remember what we used to do, as the one thing we looked forward to every year has been cut short.

As a student athlete, all you want to do is go out and play with the rest of your team. With all of the long hours of training and giving it all you’ve got, you start to feel like all of the sacrifices and hard work you’ve put into your sport is paying off. For Senior Josh Campbell, his mentality towards this year’s season is quite positive. Due to COVID-19 altering our sports here at Apopka, Josh says he feels like they’ve been hurt by not having as much practice time to get prepared, but he also believes in his team. “However, I feel like we’re going to be just fine because we’re Apopka and we just get to work and get better everyday!” Being his last year here at Apopka, having to find out his last high school season might have been taken away really saddened him. “It’s my senior year, so when I heard we might not have a season I was really disappointed.” After lots of time and patience, our boys were luckily given the opportunity to play the sport they love, but with lots of new rules and regulations. His advice to anyone who’s season might be changed or even cancelled was to, “Work your tail off for next season and come back stronger, faster, smarter and make your town proud. Love the grind!”


A usual Friday night football game looks like an organized group with lots of school spirit and cheers from everyone in the stands. Our football players are hyped and supported every step of the way, win or lose. From the cheerleaders on one side, the band on the other, and the hundreds of fans screaming at the top of their lungs. But for now, we can’t have all the components of our Friday nights. “I’m just happy to be getting the opportunity to play, that being said it’s going to be very weird not having our whole town sitting in the stands, no cheerleaders, and the band hyping us up.” When asked if he regrets choosing to play this year, he says he doesn’t regret his decision at all. “We’ve had lot’s of protocols to go through this year and it really sucks, but I never regret playing. I’ve played all four years and I wasn’t going to not play my senior year.” Although he made this year’s decision very clear, he’s not sure if he wants to play college ball, saying he goes back and forth with the idea. “If this is my last year, I just want to make great memories that I can someday share with my own kids. The guys I play with right now will be my brothers for life and I just want to have fun with them. Also a ring would be great!”


With the many ups and downs our football team has faced based on this year’s season, they are very grateful to be on the field. Now that there are new rules to follow, there have been many different opinions. One of our football coaches here at AHS, Coach Parker, believes that the football team has done an excellent job of following these guidelines. “There are some teams not playing this week, we are, so we must be doing a good job.” Despite the endless bad news, he is excited about this year. That being said, he constantly reminds his football players that this may be the first year where they will be fully tested. “Not necessarily physically, but mentally, emotionally. Everything can change at any given moment, in a split second it could all be gone.”

Coming at a slightly different angle, our Head Cheerleading Coach, Ms. Bercegeay has said she feels very discouraged and disappointed in this year’s season. “It is very difficult to get motivated at practice not knowing if we will be cheering at any games or practicing just to practice.” She was also very upset for her senior girls knowing that it is their final high school year to cheer under the Friday Night Lights. When asked how she felt about the possibility of not being at the games along with the band and audience, she said it saddened her that they may not hit the sidelines this year. “But again I would rather see my girls safe and healthy.” As coaches, both Bercegeay and Parker constantly remind their athletes that no matter what, they should not give up. “Keep your head up high and know there are bigger and brighter things that will come in the future.”


Even if our school’s traditions are being temporarily taken away from us, we still have our Darter Pride and school spirit. There is nothing Apopka High can’t overcome, and as a family, we scream HOKA HEY!