Spring Blooms New Woodson Football Season

Patrick J. Cunningham Stadium stood surprisingly empty of both athletes and spectators this fall, as COVID precautions prevented any sports activities from occurring. Last month, the red, white and blue jerseys of the Cavaliers returned to the field to begin practicing for their season.

Because of the Virginia High School League’s change in the order of high school sports, which reduced the length of sports seasons and moved them to later in the year, Woodson’s football team practiced in the cold, misty beginning of February.

“We usually go to team camp during the summer,” says Head Coach Jared “VA” Van Acker, the head coach of the football team. “We build that team cohesion in the offseason, so not having that offseason is kinda like getting ready for the season, but also building those components we have already set up.”

With the football team deprived of much of its preseason team-building activities, the players’ interactions on the field in the few weeks before their first game are only more important. However, the team is prepared to tackle the season with excitement, after being cooped up for so long. 

“Since it’s been so long, our team is really upping the energy at practice since everyone’s just excited to be there out doing something other than schoolwork,” says senior Mikey D’ Alessandro. “For seniors, there are no guarantees, so I can personally say I’m treating every practice like my last because it very well may be.”

Just like everything nowadays, the football team is forced to face challenges, including the many new rules that the players and coaches must follow. The biggest is the reduced number of people allowed in the stadium for games. In accordance with the state, county and VHSL, only two people per player are allowed into the stadium on game days. But the team is confident.

“I personally don’t see it affecting us much,” says Caiden Pastian. “Our focus is on our opponents and doing all we can to win.”

For many players, this is their last season playing for Woodson, and as memorable as the season already is, the Cavaliers intend to make it their best yet. At the time of publishing, the Woodson Cavaliers played their first game against the Annandale Atoms away and will be returning Friday, Mar. 5, against South County at home. GO CAVS!