LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On the eve of what should be one of the happiest days of the year, the season opener, some of the area's most successful high school football coaches are feeling more hesitation than excitement.
"If we're having all these protocols, then why at three o'clock do we throw all that out the door and say, you guys go play tackle football?" Trinity head coach Robert Beatty said. "I have a little hard time swallowing that."
Beatty has one of the best teams in the state. Trinity is the defending 6A state champion and a favorite to repeat this season.
"My job is to make sure they're prepared because they're telling me we're going to play and we're going to have a game," Beatty said. "That doesn't mean I have to like that. That doesn't mean I have to accept that, but my job is to prepare them and that's what I'm going to do."
Beatty isn’t alone.
"(I have) really mixed feelings," St. Xavier head coach Kevin Wallace said.
Wallace has won five state championships across more than 30 years of coaching. The 2020 season has been a challenge unlike any other he’s faced.
"I'm not talking to (the players) just about how we're running plays, and technique, and what to do," Wallace said. "Now we're talking to them about wearing a mask, washing their hands, being careful about where they go — don't necessarily go out to eat, don't go to parties, don't do this, don't do that. We're asking them not to have a normal life in order to have a football season. No group of individuals has ever sacrificed that much to play a season than football players in the state of Kentucky now."
Both coaches said that their apprehension comes from a place of concern about the well-being of their programs and communities.
"I’ve got to protect these kids," Beatty said. "It's no different than if we've got a thunderstorm coming and I see lightening. The first thing we're going to do is get inside. It's my job to protect them."
"I'm not trained for this, and I don't think any of us are,” Wallace added. "I'm not trying to complain about the position of a head coach, but we've been more of a health department official than we really have a football coach."
Trinity hosts Cincinnati's Archbishop Moeller at 7 p.m. Friday. St. Xavier's season opener against Bowling Green is set for 7:30 p.m.
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