Bexley: Lions hope to kick off Sept. 4

SCOTT HENNEN
shennen@thisweeknews.com
Noah Lyons (left) and the Bexley football team are preparing for their season opener Sept. 4 at Liberty Union in an MSL-Ohio Division game. Ten days before the scheduled opener Friday, Aug. 28, against Grandview, Bexley canceled the game because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Bexley's Mike Golden has been coaching football for more than 40 years, but he never has seen anything like 2020.

With the preseason winding down, his team still wasn't allowed to have normal practices because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the Lions' season was in limbo.

Ten days before the scheduled opener Friday, Aug. 28, against MSL-Ohio Division foe Grandview, Bexley canceled the game. However, on Aug. 21, the school board allowed the program to continue playing.

"We're still in Phase 2 (in terms of coronavirus training protocols) and we haven't been able to do a lot of things that we need to be doing," Golden said Aug. 18. "The first day we would be able to have contact would be the day before the game.

"We have told Grandview that we won't be able to play. We hope to play the second game (Sept. 4 at Liberty Union in a league contest), but we'll have to wait and see."

In his second season at Bexley, Golden, 64, previously was the head coach at Watterson (1988-2002), New Albany (2004), Upper Arlington (2005-13) and Delaware (2014-17). He has a career record of 220-105, led Watterson to the Division III state title in 2002 and was in the inaugural class of the Central District Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2017.

He continues to be surprised by what has happened.

"There has been nothing like this at all since I started coaching," said Golden, whose team went 3-7 last season. "The closest thing was 9/11, but we only missed a couple of days. In terms of impact on day-to-day planning, nothing has been more impactful."

Senior quarterback Tommy Bloebaum is happy just to be able to play. Last fall, he started the first four games before suffering a season-ending right knee injury.

"We have to set our sights on the next game," he said. "We need to get ready for Liberty Union and prepare the best we can."

Golden hopes for as much normalcy as possible.

"If this (coronavirus) blows up, and it very well could, there will be starts and stops (to the season)," he said. "I hope everyone is doing things the right way. I know we are. We're proceeding very slowly because of safety. We know we're being a bit cautious, but I'd rather we do it the right way.

"It's probably going to be day-to-day because kids won't be living in a bubble. It comes down to who they run into. They can do everything right and someone crosses their paths that aren't doing things right. They are young and healthy kids, but it's the family members who could be affected the most."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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