After successfully maneuvering through the winter sports season, the first since the beginning of the pandemic, Old Rochester Regional High School is set to take on another challenge: hosting winter sports in the middle of March. Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School will also have student-athletes playing football, soccer, and field hockey instead of prepping for baseball, softball, and lacrosse this month, but the Cougars were among the Mayflower Athletic Conference schools that did not take part in the “winter” sports season.
“It felt like something was missing in all of our lives,” Old Colony Athletic Director Matt Trahan said. “Sports are a big part of what we do here, and it’s strange to cancel a season. There’s certainly a buzz at the school now. There’s a fuse of excitement.
“It’s been tough — I feel bad for the kids, I feel bad for the adults. They’re definitely getting educated, but the things around it are important, too, whether it’s sports or other extracurricular activities.”
Football practice is already underway at both schools, but other sports won’t get rolling until the second week of March — ORR on Monday, March 8, and Old Colony on Wednesday, March 10. There is still more time for more students to register to participate in Fall II. Old Colony football is right around 60 players. ORR, however, has seen a slight dip in its registration across all fall sports, dropping from a typical 330 range to roughly 290 fall student-athletes.
“I do think there are some kids that are nervous about playing,” ORR Athletic Director Bill Tilden said. “We’ve still got some kids that aren’t even back at school yet, they’re still doing fully remote — which I get. If they have concerns at home that somebody might be a higher risk, then they should do a remote.”
Old Colony football kicks off its regular-season slate of games with the Cougar Cup on March 19 against Tri-County at New Bedford High School. That game is typically played at the end of the season on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.
All other Old Colony fall sports begin regular-season games on the week of March 22. There will be a Mayflower Athletic Conference postseason. The league has been broken up this year into North and South divisions, so representatives from those divisions will face off at the end of the season. All Fall II play from the Mayflower Athletic Conference will wrap up on April 30.
Spectators will not be allowed to attend games at Old Colony; Trahan and the school are working to stream games on YouTube and other platforms.
ORR and the South Coast Conference will conclude all play on May 8. There will be postseason play within the conference, including an eight-team football tournament. ORR football kicks off with a home game on Friday, March 26, at 4:00 pm against Dighton-Rehoboth. Both boys and girls soccer teams, field hockey, and volleyball begin their game schedules the same week as football. Golf does not start play until April 8.
By Nick Friar