Lilly & Sarrett talk fall sports, turf fields

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Hear from Woodrow Wilson head football coach Street Sarrett and Independence head coach John H. Lilly as they discuss several topics, including potential changes to the fall sports season and construction on their respective schools’ turf fields.

Governor Jim Justice and the WVSSAC are expected to announce potential changes to the West Virginia high school fall sports schedule on Friday, as Gov. Justice mentioned that possibility in his Wednesday news conference. The first Friday of the high school football season is currently scheduled for August 28; cross country, golf, and soccer teams typically start their seasons earlier in August, while volleyball teams start closer to September.

Both Lilly and Sarrett are against canceling sports seasons entirely, as some college conferences have done in recent days, noting the various benefits that sports has for student-athletes.

The two coaches also discussed progress on the turf football fields that are scheduled to be ready for the 2020 football season. Back in March, the Raleigh County Board of Education approved all four public high schools to receive turf fields; Shady Spring and Liberty will have turf fields in time for the 2021 season, while upgrades are done this summer to the visiting stands.

Both coaches says progress has been smooth since the beginning, with no significant delays expected. They also say it might be a learning curve with getting the student-athletes used to playing on turf, as most of their previous games have been on grass. Bluefield/Graham, Greenbrier East, Nicholas County, and Princeton are the only other area schools that play home football games on turf.