HANNIBAL | Hannibal High School has officially canceled its preseason football jamboree.
The Hannibal School District decided to go with the recommendation made by the Missouri Football Coaches Association and the Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) to cancel the jamboree due to concerns over COVID-19.
Hannibal High School athletic director Clint Graham said it was a difficult decision to make, but had to do what was best for the student-athletes to keep them safe.
“It's one of those traditions that every season it's the first event that we have,” Graham said. “It kind of kicks off football season and it kicks off the school year because they start at the same time. It's going to be missed, absolutely.”
While the preseason football jamboree has been canceled, Hannibal still plans on beginning practices for fall sports on Monday, Aug. 10.
Graham participated in a Zoom conference hosted by the Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) with other high school athletic directors on July 23, with MSHSAA making preparations for the fall sports season.
“It's easy enough for MSHSAA to say we'll be able to do it, but it's day-to-day and things can change,” Graham said. “We just have to be flexible and ready to adapt to whatever we need to do. We are going to do everything we can to get athletics started and if things change, (we will adapt to it).”
Hannibal is unsure on what the policy will be regarding spectators at games and will meet with the local health department for recommendations.
Graham said Hannibal plans on taking whatever safety precautions the health department recommends when the season begins.
“We are going to meet with our health department and go off their advice,” Graham said. “They're the experts on that and whatever they suggest, that's what we'll do here in Hannibal. We are going to follow the guidelines and keep our kids safe the best we can.”
Although the jamboree has been canceled, the Hannibal coaching staff will still prepare the team for the season opener on Friday, Aug. 28.
“The football coaches don't show the (plays) they are going to be running in the (regular season),” Graham said. “They run the basic plays that they do everyday in practice. It's just nice to see other kids and teams. That's the thing they'll miss the most, I think.”
Another issue facing Missouri high school football teams is if their its district goes with a virtual classroom format, they will be ineligible to play this season.
“Some of the schools around the state have already determined that they are going virtually, so it will effect some of the schools and how things will look with district assignments,” Graham said. “It's all up in the air right now on how things are going to play out for us.”
Hannibal is tentatively scheduled to host Helias on Friday, Aug. 28 to open the regular season.