Shelton coach "disappointed" with football decision

Coach Mike DeFelice hopes Shelton football can return to the field for practice in the spring.

Coach Mike DeFelice hopes Shelton football can return to the field for practice in the spring.

Shelton High Athletics / Contributed photo

Shelton High football coach Mike DeFelice wasn’t shocked but was disappointed when the CIAC's Board of Control ruled that there won’t be an alternative football season played this spring during its Jan. 14 meeting.

“It’s definitely bad news,” DeFelice said. “I wanted something especially for our seniors. But after they delayed the start of winter sports in November, in the back of my head I had a feeling they weren’t going to be able to pull this off unfortunately.”

After the fall football season was canceled because the sport was designated high risk on Sept. 29, the CIAC put forth plans for an alternative football season to run late winter. But when the CIAC announced it would be postponing the winter season into January, the die was cast on football’s future.

DeFelice believed that early in the COVID-19 pandemic that there was a chance for a football season.

“I had a lot of hope in the beginning of the summer that we could get a 6 or 7 game fall schedule in when things were looking better and (COVID-19 wise) numbers were going down,” DeFelice said. “And then little by little as the summer dragged on they started saying we are going to look at it another week, and then we are going to look at it another week again…that was the most frustrating part that it was getting dragged along.”

DeFelice and his players plugged along.

“It was tough doing a conditioning practice and telling the players that we will know next week and then telling them the next week that they (the CIAC) will give us the green light and we are going to be ready to go full bore,” DeFelice said. “You tried to get done what you could get done even though that voice in the back of your mind said otherwise.”

DeFelice is joining the call from other state football coaches to have spring practice.

“I got a survey from other SCC coaches about what we want for the spring and I wrote back that I would like to see traditional spring football again, like we had forever,” DeFelice said. “We are at a point now that without that spring ball we would be going into whatever is a fall season in 2021 very blind.”

The original survey came before the fall season was canceled.

“It was about if the second season got canceled what would we like to be done,” DeFelice said. I’m sure it was so they could present it up the ladder and say this is what the coaches would like to see.”

Finding a way to get players looked at during the pandemic is cause for concern.

“We’ve sent letters of recommendations and video interviews to some schools,” DeFelice said. “I did receive emails from college coaches to giv e to kids that may have an interest.”

Without this past season, Shelton freshman players never saw game action and junior varsity players were limited in skill progression.

DeFelice said: “It would be difficult to get a team ready in August if we don’t have something in the spring. Personally, I’m pushing for that, to give us something to evaluate the younger kids.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354