High school football team stays in bubble to avoid COVID-19 ahead of state championship

The Bryant Hornets want to be the first 7A team to win three state championship titles in a row. So they’re sacrificing ‘the now,’ in hopes to make history.

BRYANT, Ark. — The Bryant Hornets football team is going for a three-peat this weekend, but they’ve sacrificed a lot to make it happen, including secluding themselves in a bubble to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak.

“We took the idea from watching the NBA and other organizations who are doing it,” said Dr. Todd Edwards, principal at Bryant High School.

Edwards said the Hornets are determined.

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The team, for weeks now, has limited social interaction to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak, which could ultimately lead the team to forfeit the State Championship game if players were forced to quarantine.

“I’m a senior,” said Austin Shroeder. “This is my last game Saturday. The opportunity to play is a blessing, and I’m really thankful for our coaches who’ve pushed for our safety and other teammates who are helping out.”

Shroeder is a safety for the team.

He chose to stay home and learn virtually to avoid unnecessary interaction, but for his teammates who are at school, they are in their bubble inside the field house and learning from one centralized location.

“We restrict their movement on campus during the day, and we have created a virtual environment for these blended students,” said Edwards.

Shroeder said his team and coaches have all played a role in taking the virus seriously.

Even the players’ families are doing their part to help.

“We did Thanksgiving by Zoom this year, actually. We FaceTimed with our other family members so we could keep our distance,” said Shroeder.

A lot is at stake. The team is sacrificing ‘the now’ in hopes to make history on Saturday.

“This is a chance to make history. It’s never been done at the 7A level for a team to win three state championship titles in a row. So, we are taking advantage of this opportunity and we want to be in the history books for something we accomplished and be the first to do it,” said Shroeder.

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The high school’s drama class is also doing the same by bubbling into a group.

They have a production they are recording this weekend and don’t want to miss out on it.