MEDFORD, Ore. — At first, it was the senior season that would never come. The final whistle of their high school football careers came in 2019... at least they thought that was the case for a large part of 2020. But with the Oregon Health Authority and the OSAA giving the thumbs up, the North Medford senior class will have a football season after all.
Practices are a little colder than what they're used to at the start of a football season, but spring football is still football. For seniors, it's a chance to have their moment.
"For us seniors, it's our last time strapping up so the best feeling in the world," Chance Costanzo said.
There were times over the past 12 months where Costanzo and his fellow senior teammates had to help each other keep their spirits up as they dealt with the possibility they wouldn't get another chance to play the sport they loved. It took not only all the seniors but also the entire team, their family, to keep pushing forward in the hopes of getting a chance.
"It was hard to keep your hopes up," Tharon Gail said. "Trying to stay positive was a big one. It was just going day-to-day trying to keep the hope alive that we'd have a season and have a senior season."
But in ten days' time, the high school football season in Oregon officially kicks off, about six months later than it normally would. But no matter the time of year or weather, one thing stays constant for these student-athletes: the Friday night lights.
"I didn't know if I was going to get to have that feeling again and everyone knows and football players know that's a special feeling on Friday Night," Costanzo said. "So to just get that opportunity again is amazing."
"It's football season and we'll play it like a season. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter if it's spring or summer or winter," head coach Steven Turner said. "It's a 'now' type thing."
And right now the only thing on the mind of North Medford football players is the game ahead. That, and one big goal for the 2021 spring season.
"I definitely know that we're gonna go undefeated this year and that's the only goal we have in mind," senior Jayden Sandusky said.
The Black Tornado's first test will be March 5 at 7 pm at Grants Pass High School.