COVID-19 loomed big over the local sports scene during the year 2020.
Concerns over the coronavirus caused the spring sports season to end abruptly just after spring break and affected the coaches, athletes, their family members and friends during the fall and winter sports seasons.
The University Interscholastic League and Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools canceled the remainder of spring sports in April, which ended the soccer season before the playoffs had begun and stopped play in baseball and softball just as the teams were headed into district play. The track and field season also ended before the athletes could compete in either district, area, regional or state meets.
The virus also halted the powerlifting season before the state meets for girls and boys.
The Lone Star Conference, which includes Texas A&M University-Commerce, also put a halt on spring sports and the Lions elected not to play football until the fall of 2021.
The 28-3 A&M-C women’s basketball team had its record-breaking season end before the Lions played in the NCAA Division II tournament.
When the UIL announced that summer conditioning could start on June 8 it did so with strict rules regarding the health and safety of all concerned. Facial masks were required. Groups were limited in size. There were even guidelines about water bottles.
Commerce’s new head football coach John McSheffery noticed a difference in the Tigers when they started conditioning following the layoff.
“The pandemic has affected our players in several ways,” said McSheffery. “The pandemic caused student-athletes to get out of shape to a certain degree. It took away the ability to have skill specific instruction the last few months of school.”
The UIL restrictions continued in the fall when football, volleyball and basketball teams played before crowds that were limited in size.
Commerce dealt with COVID-19 throughout the fall football season, missing some games because of it and later a chance at a playoff berth.
The Cumby Trojans had to cancel a football playoff game due to the virus.
The Greenville Lions also dealt with COVID-19 quarantines in the football, volleyball and basketball seasons in the fall and winter.
The Lions’ football district 8-5A-II ended up going to zone play to determine the playoff representatives after district teams Greenville, Sulphur Springs and Crandall weren’t able to practice or play for two weeks. The Lions wound up finishing second in their zone, earning a second straight trip to the playoffs.
The 4-5 Lions played state-ranked Lucas Lovejoy tough before falling 45-30 in a bi-district game.
The 17-6 Greenville Lady Lions were quarantined for two weeks in the volleyball season but still advanced to the third round of the playoffs.
The Caddo Mills Foxes stayed healthy as they went 12-1, reaching the Class 4A state quarterfinals in footbalfor the first time before falling to traditional power Gilmer.