If 2020 has ushered in a “new normal,” hopefully it will be the unknown factor of this year.

We don’t need any “new normals” concerning COVID-19, masks or cancellations. I believe everyone will be extremely happy when COVID-19 is much less of a threat.

COVID-19 is a real threat. I think we all know someone who has had the virus and suffered. Prayers to those who have had it, or are suffering with it now. For everyone else, take the necessary precautions.

There has been a massive monkey wrench factor to the sports season so far. When St. Louis County, and then St. Louis City, decided to let the kids play, that changed the power structure of many districts, some with our area’s schools. For a couple, it changed once schools were added to districts. 

The real fun factor of 2020 has been seeing a true sense that any team can win on any given night.

Whether that has happened due to COVID-19 quarantines, injuries or other factors really doesn’t matter. It’s refreshing to see games that would have been decided one way becoming more competitive.

In our local football scene, Washington, St. Clair and Owensville have been solid throughout the season. That should be a heck of a game in Week 9 between St. Clair and Owensville, and it likely will decide the FRC title.

The fun has been in watching the rest of the teams.

St. Francis Borgia Regional is hard to figure out. It lost to O’Fallon Christian and then had to take a week off due to quarantines.

Just when they were ready to be written off, the Knights come back to play a complete game in beating a tough St. Dominic squad.

Union’s another one of those teams. The Wildcats have some good wins. The 41-40 victory at Pacific still is the game of the year in my mind. However, just when it seemed like the Wildcats would be good competition for one of the Big 3, something happens.

Union still has a chance to do something in the postseason. The Wildcats are second in the Class 4 District 2 standings at this time.

Another team in that district is Pacific. While the Indians have won once this year, they have been competitive in just about every game. Pacific has made good teams sweat. Nobody runs harder than Matthew Austin and his 333 yards against Owensville was one of the feats of the season so far.

At the other end of the spectrum have been the head-scratchers. Hermann and Sullivan have been competitive and both have won. Hermann beat a good Montgomery County team at the start of the season. Sullivan beat Hermann.

St. James is the middle leg of the triangle. The Tigers beat Sullivan last week, but were beaten by Hermann. Let’s hope all three get hot at the end of the regular season. I don’t know about you, but I want to see our local teams have success.

In 2020, anything seems possible.

And, it’s not just in high school sports. Ask fans of the Kansas City Chiefs about last Sunday and you’ll find that out in a hurry.

Get some popcorn and your favorite soft drink. It’s going to be fun to see which teams can improvise, adapt and overcome in the playoffs.

•••

No matter how much you try, you’re never going to make everyone happy, especially with Friday night football.

In case you didn’t know, we have a small sports staff. And, when football games are being played from St. Charles to Owensville, it’s impossible to have them all covered in person. It’s also impossible to have them all end at the same time.

Arron Hustead and I have been lucky enough to get help on Friday nights. Mike Marler has handled games nearly every week this fall. And Autumn Underberg and her Union High School yearbook photographers have helped us out with art. We’re always looking for additional help.

That means, we’re going to be looking to finish up the games we’re covering in person and then work to get the rest wrapped up. We have to track down scores and information from others who help us out. It takes a bit of time to be able to get that done.

Whether that means being the last one in a press box, sitting in the car trying to cool down/warm up after the game, or sitting at McDonald’s hooked into Wi-Fi, looking for a plug-in and hoping a laptop will keep a charge long enough to post a story, we work on trying to make sure every game is covered.

If you don’t see your favorite school’s game up immediately, that doesn’t mean it’s not being covered. Check back in 15-30 minutes. It’s likely that the other stories are in progress and we need a little time to finish up.