O’Bannon High School head coach Lynn Lang said he was excited when he learned Thursday night that the Western Line School District school board decided to reinstate fall sports. The first game is scheduled for Oct. 2 with O’Bannon High School traveling to Riverside High School.
Now, the hard work begins.
“Eleven of my best players have transferred to Greenville Christian,” Lang said. “This means I am going to have to treat this season like a spring training, but we are not going to complain. It will be the next man up. I expect to play a lot of freshmen, and I am excited to get to work with them.”
Western Line school board president Dorothy Washington said the unanimous decision to reinstate sports was made after looking at the overall situation.
“We are trying to accommodate our athletes because we know it is important for them to play, but we have implemented strict guidelines and, if we start seeing a problem, we have the right to reverse our decision,” Washington said. “We are prayerful that this goes well, but we will be watching it closely at the same time.”
Despite their seasons being delayed, both O’Bannon and Riverside will still play a majority of their district games and will be eligible to qualify for the MHSAA state playoffs. While the O’Bannon and Riverside game is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2, Lang said it may be rescheduled for Oct. 26 if district opponent Charleston, who the Waves were originally scheduled to play Oct. 2, reinstate football.
At Riverside, athletic director Brad Andrews said he applauds the Western Line boards decision to reinstate sports.
“Our coaches are exited to give the kids something to look forward to,” Andrews said. “It is great for our seniors to be allowed to have a senior season.”
Andrews said the Riverside football team has lost several players to transfer recently but not as many as O’Bannon. Some of these players have also returned to the school, Andrews said.
While the Riverside football season is starting back up, the Bulldog volleyball team, meanwhile, will not have a season because its season was scheduled to end on Oct. 10.