Dean Hensley

| Hendersonville Times News

On Monday evening in Western North Carolina the temperatures were in the high 30s and it was raining cold and steady … typical winter sports weather for basketball and wrestling teams.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s customized sports calendar, boys’ football is mid-season in the middle of winter. That forced players and coaches to brave the elements while wearing face covers to play their games on Monday.

The region’s soccer teams have had games in the pouring rain before, but this was completely different due to the bitter cold and the masks.

“To be honest, we usually look forward to playing in the rain and walking around in the mud. It’s usually great fun,” West Henderson’s Woody Greene said on Wednesday. “But that wasn’t fun. Since it was so cold it was definitely a challenge. After that game I could hardly feel anything.”

The Falcons played at home on Monday and won against North Buncombe. Veteran Falcon trainer Brian Brewer said it was freezing cold and the rain had continued throughout the game.

“Not only was Monday cold, but the wet conditions made it miserable. We were all cold and soaking wet,” Brewer said. “It rained heavily on us right after kick-off and it never stopped. We had a tent on the sidelines and stayed under it at half-time. The sidelines had about three inches of stagnant water and I stood in it all night. Thirty-five The degrees and rain make it very difficult to play in and I’m sure the fans will find it difficult to assert themselves. “

West goalkeeper Thomas Lynn said he could barely feel anything after the game.

“It was definitely a challenge for us. We kept trying to keep warm but it was just so difficult. It was great to come back after the game, that’s for sure,” he said.

At TC Roberson, North Henderson and the TCR Rams both went unbeaten into the game. In the end, Roberson won in the second extension and took first place at the Western Mountain Athletic Conference.

After the end of the game, northern coach Ricardo Hernandez shivered and his glasses were fogged up.

“Come on guys,” he said. “The sooner we clean everything up, the sooner we can get on this bus.”

The Hendersonville boys’ soccer team was in Pisgah Monday night, winning 9-0 in the cold rain. HHS coach Stuart Scott said winter weather in the mountains is always unpredictable but his players are ready for it.

“We were aware that Monday’s forecast predicted cold and wet for the season. We had prepared for the cold with extra clothing, but the boys were soaked through all shifts before kick-off and were shivering from the cold,” said the coach .

The face covers only added to the misery, said Scott.

“The rain on Monday made the masks much more difficult to wear as the mask material was also soaked. We checked at least a full box of masks because the boys were changing them so frequently,” said Scott.

“It made wearing a mask a lot harder than it could have been, and I couldn’t feel my hands after 30 seconds,” said Logan Scott, senior HHS player.

East Henderson won against Franklin in a 7pm match on Monday night, with temperatures just above freezing. East trainer Jacob Lucy was not only proud of his team, but also of Franklins for having struggled through the harsh weather conditions.

“Last Monday was pretty tough, but our young men – and Franklin’s young men – showed their resilience by fighting their way through and playing a competitive game,” he said. “Their resilience should not surprise anyone working in education or related fields, as these young people have shown resilience over the past year despite difficulties and setbacks.”

Eastern senior Daniel Lopez Alejandro said he was concerned about the winter weather when he first heard the season was changing to February.

“As hard as it sounds and as cold as it is out there, when we’re out on the pitch doing our thing, the last thing that comes to mind is the cold weather,” he said. “However, it was a challenge to face Franklin on that cold and rainy night.”

To face this challenge, he said he had to wear face covering.

“In the cold and slippery conditions, I couldn’t feel my hands at all and when my mask was soaked it felt like I was going on board with the water. It was a tough night but we fought hard and prevailed “said Alejandro.

The Eagles senior midfielder Cris Cervantes de la Luz said the team were ready to end the year strong after Monday’s success.

“Winter weather will always be cold, but here at East Henderson we feel ready for anything,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the weather is, we’ll do the job and we’ve proven that on Monday it will compete in the terrible weather.”

With the winter months ending, the soccer teams are hoping to have some games in spring weather soon. The regular season ends on March 12th and the first round of the state playoffs is March 16th.