A final decision has yet to be made, but Poynette football coach Greg Kallungi is hopeful there will be a season this fall despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are still in a holding pattern,” Kallungi said. “The WIAA created some flexibility for schools to pick fall or spring seasons. We are still preparing for Sept. 7.”
The WIAA has created a schedule for the 2020-2021 school year to allow schools the opportunity to push fall sports to the spring. Spring sports would then be pushed back and go into summer.
“There are a lot of conference meetings coming up this week,” Kallungi said. “It will allow everybody to get on the same page and whether you chose to play in fall or spring, you will know if you have teams you can play. I expect more information on our situation this week.”
Kallungi is open to playing during either the fall or spring, just as long as the Pumas have a chance to play.
“The biggest thing for me is that the guys get an opportunity to play football,” Kallungi said. “Whatever that looks like, I’m okay with. What I don’t want to happen is that our conference teams go one way and we go another way. I think right now the most important thing is to be flexible. I just want our guys to get an opportunity. If that means it has to be in the spring, which will create other challenges, at least it is an opportunity.”
The Pumas were already facing some big changes this fall with a move to a new conference. The WIAA realigned conferences across the state for football only. Poynette has moved from the Capitol North to the South Central Conference.
“This whole situation goes up a level for us because we are still in the Capitol Conference for every sport besides football,” Kallungi said. “This means we are working with two different conference over multiple counties. It was already going to be a different fall with the move to a new conference, but we are familiar with a few of the South Central teams because we played them during non-conference. It will be interesting to play teams we have not seen in a long time.”
After having all communication done virtually, Kallungi was able to finally get together with some of his players after WIAA rules allowed for student-athletes to work out in their respective school’s weight rooms.
“When we opened it up, we had a good turnout,” Kallungi said. “Everyday guys are coming in and are chomping at the bit to work out. We are limiting the number of athletes in the room and following all protocols. They have been good about handling it all. They are rolling with the punches.”
Kallungi has liked the attitude of his players throughout this process.
“They have been staying positive,” Kallungi said. “They are hopeful we are going to have a season. They want to get out and play.”
Whatever the season looks like and whenever it takes place, Kallungi says once the ball is snapped the first time, it will feel like normal again.
“I noticed even the first couple times in the weight room with them, even that felt good to be around the guys and getting back to seeing familiar faces,” Kallungi said. “That was the first time any student has been in the high school since March. It felt good to have the kids around again. It is going to be even better when we get out there for our first practice.”