Saturday’s rivalry game between TUFA’s Houston Ducks and H-Town Panthers isn’t much different than any other semi-pro football games.
There’s a smattering of cheering fans at the high school stadium.
There’s a P.A. announcer in charge of ,well, everything: music, the energy, calling out plays and names and keeping the crowd entertained. There are no flags in this game, they are “banana peels” when they come from this booth.
Social distancing doesn’t exist on this football field. It can’t, really, in football. If you’re 6-to-8 feet away from your opponent, usually a touchdown follows.
The players and coaches of the Houston Ducks balance real concern with positivity.
“There was a bunch of mixed emotions involved with it,” said Ducks coach P.J. Strachan. “I was definitely worried about it, I told some of the players if they’re feeling under the weather to sit this thing, go be quarantined, stay with your family.”
“The virus is a real thing and people should take precautions,” said Ducks defender Kolby Griffin. “It’s a good thing to give these guys something to take their minds off of the craziness that’s going on in the world for three hours.”
SEMI-PRO FOOTBALL FACTS
- The Ducks and Panthers play in the TUFA - Texas United Football Association
- The TUFA has 20 teams, 10 in two divisions.
- Players do not get paid. The players pay for the opportunity to play.
- There are a mix of players, including those who played high-level college football.
- The teams play a 10-game season