DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (KELO)– Practice has started for Dell Rapids St. Mary as they prepare for a 2020 football season. However, their season changed before games even started.
Two positive COVID-19 cases on the Estelline/Hendricks football team, changed the schedule for the Cardinals who were supposed to play the Redhawks on Friday.
This is a battle that every team has had to face so far, but the Cardinals are keeping a close eye on their invisible opponent.
“That’s a major concern, I think for every team. You have to be pretty conscious of it and our coaches have done a great job all summer and now starting camp, they’ve done a great job of being active of it. They’re making sure that they’re safe and we’re safe as we try to keep our season alive,” Connor Libis said.
“It’s always a concern and it’s always in the back of our minds, but at the same time, we’ve tried to be careful and do things to combat that all summer and we’re hoping to keep doing those things and they keep working,” Ross Flemmer said.
The Cardinals finished 8-2 a year ago. Dell Rapids St. Mary suffered losses to Colman-Egan, who would later win the class ‘9B’ state title and Herreid/Selby Area who finished the year as the state runner-up.
This year’s team has set some high goals as they return a list of talented players.
“I think the expectations are pretty high, but I think that is set on by the players. We’ve worked our tails off to get to this point and this is where we’ve always wanted to be. We’re trying to get to day one and see if we’re ready to rock and roll,” Libis said.
The Cardinals return standout quarterback Connor Libis, who scored more than thirty touchdowns a year ago.
“He’s a great player and probably more importantly, a great leader. The kids look up to him and with his athleticism, I think we’ll be able to do a lot of things with him this year,” Flemmer said.
“I put a little bit more on myself, I think as a Senior, it’s time for me and the rest of my buddies to step up and take control of this team. I think we’ve done a great job so far and I’m excited to see how this season turns out,” Libis said.
Colman-Egan dominated class ‘9B’ in 2019, but 2020 could be a different story. Along with Colman-Egan, Dell Rapids St. Mary, Harding County and Wolsey-Wessington each received first place votes in the first South Dakota Prep Media High School Football Poll. That means that class ‘9B’ football will be even more competitive in 2020.
“It’s always kind of tough to tell. There are always teams that you see coming, but then there are some that come out of nowhere and so it’s tough to tell. I think we’re one of the better teams and I hope to be in it at the end,” Flemmer said.
Dell Rapids St. Mary was supposed to play Estelline/Hendricks, but due to COVID-19, the Cardinals will travel further north to play Florence/Henry on Friday at 7:00.