Wareham’s ‘Fall II’ sports season ready to begin

Feb 26, 2021

Wareham High School athletes who participate in fall sports, including football, cheerleading, soccer, field hockey, track or cross-country, and volleyball will soon begin practices ahead of the start of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s new Fall II season.

Principal Scott Palladino presented a brief overview of the upcoming Fall II season during the School Committee meeting Feb. 25. 

For Wareham, Palladino said the season will begin March 8 — 12 days before the first day of spring — and will end in early May.

The unprecedented season is the result of the MIAA’s Board of Directors August vote to delay sports with a high-risk of covid transmission like football to a “Fall II” season that officially began on Feb. 22. 

Each team will have between six and nine games, depending on the sport, Palladino said.

Coronavirus safety protocols will remain largely the same as the protocols in place during the winter season — with one possible exception. 

“Based on the South Coast Conference protocol [...] the home school has the discretion about whether they allow fans or don’t allow fans,” Palladino explained. 

The district learned on Feb. 24 that schools can choose whether or not to allow fans, Palladino said. Fans were not allowed during the winter season, but those sports were played indoors.

“Fall II, as you heard those sports, the majority of them are [...] outdoor sports,” Palladino said. “We really haven’t had a lot of conversations yet, but [...] it’s outside, so I’m thinking there’ll be more flexibility in the Fall II season than we had in the winter.”

No decisions have been made yet regarding whether or not Vikings fans will be allowed at games.

Athletic Director Ed Rodrigues explained that Wareham’s sports facilities are designed in a way that would make it easy to regulate the number of spectators. 

“With Spillane Field, we can lock all the gates there and allow as many people as we want to let in,” Rodrigues said. “That’s going to be our prerogative if we [allow fans].”

He said many other schools don’t have that ability and spectators might be “coming from all directions,” without any way to limit crowds. Rodrigues said the school would also have the ability to limit spectators at field hockey games, track meets and volleyball games.

“We are a little bit lucky in the sense that we can control the amount of people, hopefully, that come to a game,” he said. Because the first games aren’t until around March 23 or 24, Rodrigues said there was still time to come up with a plan.

Rodrigues acknowledged that the winter season had been “a lot of work,” but he said he hoped the district sees “the same success” in Fall II.

Palladino praised the students and coaches for their commitment to safety precautions during the winter sports season. 

“What’s really remarkable is that we had no practices or games missed as a result of Wareham High School athletes being covid positive,” he said. “I think this really falls on the coaches [and] the athletes really following the protocol that we established and making sure they never put their team at risk.”

Palladino emphasized how proud he was of the coaches and athletes. He also thanked WCTV for live streaming the games because spectators were not allowed to attend.