Huntingdon College and the rest of the USA South Athletic Conference won’t play football this fall.
The team learned the fate of its season Tuesday morning via Zoom. The conference announced it is postponing fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision by USA South also impacts Maryville College standout Bo Hering, an all-conference linebacker from Navarre who has 128 tackles in his career. He has also picked off four passes in his career.
As of now, the conference intends to have a spring season in football and other fall sports.
The news hits hard for several former Navarre Raiders on the Huntingdon roster. Among them is two-year starter and all-conference offensive lineman Darrell Hixon.
“It was disappointing to hear that our season would be pushed back into the spring, but I’m grateful that we will still get a chance to play ball,” Hixon said.
Hixon is one of four Raiders on the Huntingdon roster. Marc Struck, Garrett Schluter and Tyler England also play for the Hawks.
Huntingdon won the USA South crown last year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
“Finding out this morning was really tough,” long snapper Garrett Schluter said. “The returners were kind of expecting some kind of bad news, but we weren’t expecting our season to be canceled.”
Hixon, Struck and Schluter all played at Huntingdon last year. England was preparing for his freshman season at the school in Montgomery, Ala.
“Being a freshman and not being able to play is definitely a bummer,” England said. “We found out this morning via Zoom call and it came as a shock to me. We were originally scheduled to play conference games.”
Back in July, USA South aimed to split football into two divisions and play a home-and-home format. A championship game would pit the two division winners against each other.
England said he’s spent a lot of time working out with Hixon, and with hope of a spring season still alive, the incoming freshman has no plans to ease back on his preparation for football.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work out with some friends at their houses and running some routes at fields that are still open. However, when it comes time to strap it up in the spring, I’m going to be ready.”
Hixon was set to take aim at his third year as a starter. He said the team plans to treat the fall like spring practice.
Hixon added it’s been tough not being around his team over the summer.
“The toughest part through this whole situation was not being able to be around and grind with my teammates and coaches this summer,” Hixon said. “I believe we had a great season last year because of the amount of people that came back to school that summer.”
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