Alden Nichols hones his tackling skills. (Michael Briones photo)

Ballenas Whalers draw 40 players to spring football training sessions

Coach Jeremy Conn hopes for return to game action in the fall

  • Mar. 23, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The Ballenas Whalers football team is still holding spring training despite not having any idea if high school football will be allowed at all this year.

The Whalers are one of few schools across the province conducting off-season training.

This school year, BC high school football was cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, much to the disappointment of players, particularly those in their last year of high school.

There is a strong desire to play and that was reflected clearly in the spring training sessions that started in February and drew an average of 40 keen players.

“It’s the best turnout we’ve ever had,” said coach Jeremy Conn, who heads the training that has been held mostly outdoors at Ballenas field under Phase 2 of viaSport guidelines and strict COVID-19 protocols.

READ MORE: Ballenas Whalers football players missing out on final season of high school career

Conn said they still don’t know if inter-school football will be allowed at all this spring and also next school year.

What they’re doing is just preparing the team just in case.

“We’re counting on the fall season,” said Conn.

It’s unlikely inter-school games would be allowed anytime sooner. In February, BC School Sports announced the ban on inter-school sports will remain in support of the work of public health officials.

Jordan Abney, executive director, indicated they are continuing to advocate for the return of school sport activities with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.

“We understand that this further limitation on school sport will bring additional frustration,” said Abney.

“We recognize that each restriction makes it harder and harder to engage the student-athletes in your building.”

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Ryker Sandsbury rams his way past blockers Gage D’Lerma and Ayden Chambers. (Michael Briones photo)

Ballenas Whalers practise evasive moves. (Michael Briones photo)

Matthew Greenshields stretches his arms to catch the ball. (Michael Briones photo)

Kyle Kearns tackles the bag hard.(Michael Briones photo)

Kyle Kearns gets squashed by two blockers. (Michael Briones photo)