Memorial football sticking with current plan after PAISD’s virtual instruction announcement

Published 12:12 am Friday, July 24, 2020

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Memorial head coach Brian Morgan said the Port Arthur Independent School District’s decision to hold virtual instruction for all students for the first four weeks of the school year shouldn’t affect what is planned for the football season.

Morgan admits, though, the plans could easily change, given the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been in touch with Dr. (Mark) Porterie about the UIL announcement that came out the other day, and he knows,” Morgan said. “We’re not stopping at any point. The UIL has given extra time for fall sports and we’re going to be here as is. Our regular plan has not changed.”

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PAISD had already allowed students whose parents opted for virtual instruction to still be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities. The shift to virtual instruction for all students isn’t something new as far as sports are concerned, Morgan said.

“The plan has always been in place that even if we had kids that chose to do online, which we already had some of our athletes choose to do that. They were able to participate. It’s nothing new, at least on our end.”
Memorial has also picked out new non-district opponents for their first three games, which begin Sept. 24. The Titans will face Port Neches-Groves, Barbers Hill and Crosby, all schools in District 12-5A-II.

At least, that’s the plan right now for Memorial. The 12-5A-II schools were expected to meet Thursday evening to discuss how to handle football scheduling, and Morgan said he will meet with the other teams in District 9-5A-I about their own football scheduling on Monday.

What is discussed at these meetings could very well reshape Memorial’s schedule once again, Morgan conceded.

“Obviously something could come out of that and that could change, but as of right now, it’s in place,” he said. “I know our non-district opponents are all in the same district, so if their district changes something, that really affects us, too. I’d like to say it’s set, but between their district changing anything and our district changing something, it could definitely change, at least here in the next few days.”

Morgan said there’s talk of changes already.

“There’s a lot of talk,” he said. “Everybody was so excited Tuesday. Everybody was so excited that we’re playing 10 games, and now everybody’s kind of looking at it like, ‘Well are 10 games the best, or nine or eight games? Is it smarter to give us some room for breaks and everything?’ It may not change at all.”
The UIL has allowed 11 weeks for districts to play 10 games, though each district has leeway to determine how those games will be played, and whether to play all 10.

“Do we want to play eight games and two non-district, or do we want to play seven and split them up over those 11 weeks?” Morgan said. “Each district has the possibility to choose that, so that’s where you run into problems. Let’s say us and PNG’s district don’t do the same thing. Then, we’ve got a problem because they’re on my non-district schedule. I want to be on the same page because I do want to play these guys.

“There are a lot of scenarios out there. I think it’s just new for everybody and everybody’s just trying to account for if something happens. There’s a lot of moving pieces that at the beginning nobody thought of.”