Coaches react to canceled sports

Published 8:38 am Monday, April 27, 2020

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The spring sports season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety is always the most important thing for everybody involved and the correct decision was made, but it is still tough on everybody.

Plenty of work was put in to make these seasons possible, and unfortunately, it means that seniors will never have the chance to play another high school game.

There are more than 30 combined varsity boys and girls teams from schools in Washington Parish across seven schools and five sports that include, baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track/field.

“It’s disappointing, but I understand,” Franklinton baseball coach Jeff Tageant said. “You hate it for the kids, the parents and especially the seniors. We’re in unprecedented territory. This has never happened before to us. The safety of the players is the most important to me.”

Franklinton usually has a summer slate of games that are used to help with player development for the following season.

The summer games do not include seniors who just graduated because they are preparing for next season, but Tageant said that if they do get to play this summer, they will give the seniors an opportunity to play.

Tageant was in his 34th year of coaching and 32nd year of being Franklinton’s head coach.

Eddie Walker coaches Bogalusa’s boys and girls track and field teams. Walker has been coaching various sports for more than 40 years, including Bogalusa’s track/field teams since 2013.

“I hate it for all of the kids, but for the seniors, you’re kind of caught between a rock and a hard place to help them out. My hands are tied. I wish things could be different, but I think this has caught everybody around the country off guard not knowing the next day or the next week or month when athletics will come back to normal,” Walker said.

Mt. Hermon softball coach Lester Jenkins was in his 19th year of coaching various sports and his first year with the Lady Jackets this season.

“I was really looking forward to working with this group of girls,” Jenkins said. “We were really starting to make progress because the first week, I was coming from basketball and I wanted them to do things we had not worked on. I couldn’t require them to do things we hadn’t worked on. Then things started coming together, but then the season got cancelled. We had the two seniors (Tiffany Blades and Jolie Fortenberry). Both had great work habits. They all had great work habits. I hate it for everybody, especially the two seniors.”