Despite missing a year on the field, football team looks forward to upcoming season
February 18, 2021
The football team at Omaha Central high school was disappointed about the news of the complete cancellation of their season. It was a missed opportunity for a season that was looking to be one of Central’s best in recent years, according to head football coach Jay Landstrom.
“You feel the worst for the seniors, you only get one senior year and you don’t get to experience everything from the first game to purple white to homecoming to getting a chance to play in the playoffs,” Landstrom said.
The pandemic has also caused a large roadblock for recruiting the incoming middle schoolers, Landstrom says.
“It’s made it tougher. We feel that the best thing we can do at Central is, when you come downtown for a Friday night home game and we have a great student section, great fans, one of the best stadiums in the state with the downtown skyline and all that, we like to get the freshmen there to experience that,” Landstrom said. “We couldn’t do that this year. Plus, it always helps to have a good team and win games, and I think that we were gonna do that this year. That excitement would have helped us with attracting eighth graders.”
Another aspect of football that was affected because of the canceled season was the recruiting scene. According to David Johnson, the coordinator of recruiting at Florida State, recruiting in the age of a pandemic is much harder than a normal year, according to an article from CBS Sports.
“There is nothing like in-person,” said Johnson. “You can only do so much on a Zoom call. Being able to look that person in the eyes, sit down with his family and kind of seeing the whole dynamics of the family. See the body languages.”
Landstrom touched on the development of players, and how that was harder this year than ever before.
“I wouldn’t say it was completely stunted, but it was slowed,” Landstrom said. “You get better at football by playing football, and we didn’t get to do that. We didn’t have a varsity team, a JV team, or a freshman team, so even our freshmen and JV players weren’t able to develop for this next year when we’re gonna need them. We also lost time in the weight room that we need to get bigger, faster, and stronger. We hope we get a few extra practices this summer, but it is hard to replace a whole year missing time in the weight room and on the field.”
Landstrom also explained that nobody was going to feel bad for this Central team, either.
“With that said, you can’t go back in time, so it’s our time to get after it and not cry over spilled milk, work hard this spring and summer and get a lot of kids out for different sports this spring,” Landstrom said. “Attendance, whether it’s seven on seven or in the weight room is important so we are ready to play football next fall.”
You can’t go back in time, so it’s our time to get after it and not cry over spilled milk, work hard this spring and summer and get a lot of kids out for different sports this spring.
— Head coach Jay Landstrom
This last fall, Westside High School triumphed over Millard South High school to win the Nebraska state championship, in a season that was far from normal. There were no packed student sections, limited crowd sizes, and sideline measures at certain schools such as masks and social distancing. The State Championship was held at the home of the higher seed, so teams missed out on the opportunity to play at Memorial Stadium.
“We’re going to be looking forward to the season,” Landstrom said. “When we are full [in person], that’s going to allow guys to come back in and lift. We’ll have a good spring season. Nobody is gonna feel sorry for us, so we’re going to have to get back at it.”