De Soto football team tries to salvage memories during season of adversity
Low roster numbers and revamped school year taking its tole on De Soto's football team, but they are not giving up
DE SOTO, Wis. (WKBT) – Students continue to lose opportunities this year. Last spring it was prom and graduation. Athletes lost their seasons, and that continues this fall with several games planned for Friday night, canceled.
Coaches, teachers, and parents also have a lot to hurdle this year. De Soto’s Ev Wick is all of the above.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Wick said.
Wick has won 129 football games spanning two decades. He has taught fifth grade since the early 2000s and is now a father of two.
“I’m doing my stuff, helping my son with his, and now my daughter’s in preschool,” Wick said.
It’s cliche, 2020 is one of a kind for Ev, his students, and athletes.
“Last spring we all kind of got caught off guard,” Wick said.
Last spring has carried over to the fall. Some students are back in their physical desks, but not everything is working out as they hoped.
“Football, it’s a long season as it is,” Wick said. “You get one game a week and to take one of those chances away, it was pretty devastating for us to tell them.”
Friday’s opener is off. The season was already pushed back a month, and then more vinegar tasting news followed. Next week’s game against Potosi-Cassville is also off the calendar.
“If we had 40 some kids we might still be playing,” Wick said.
Wick’s team is battling numbers. He started with 21 players and now his squad is down to 14 kids.
“Coaches have to stand in,” Wick said. “We have garbage cans that have to be scout players. It’s a challenge for sure.”
He knows the safety of his players has to come first. De Soto is not alone. Countless games have been canceled this week due to COVID-19 and other problems.
“We can’t put some of those kids in that position that are that inexperienced and try to go.”
Safety remains Ev’s priority. However, this is still painful for his players.
“For a lot of kids that’s the highest level of football they’ll play,” Wick said.
Sports have power and meaning that can only be felt by those who manufactured memories on a field.
“They’re out here to have fun and getting back to having and experience with their friends,” Wick said. “Sports and competing it means something.”
He said players of seasons past still remember their time in Maroon in Gold.
“It’s fun to hear some of those stories,” he said. “They still talk about those things like the Four Corners of Fun and going out to eat.”
It means more than people know, but his kids are just glad to be back in school.
“They said they all want to be in school,” Wick said. “I 100 percent agree with that.”
Time in the classroom is something most won’t take for granted any time soon.
“It’s not the same when you are sitting in front of a computer,” Wick said. “They need that interaction.”
De Soto’s team suffered from flooding a few years back that severely damaged their field. However, they didn’t have to cancel any games. The team is still holding out hope that they will be able to play at some point this fall.
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