‘Assuming’ there’s no football, Cats look ahead 

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Even though the Ontario Football Conference has yet to make a decision to cancel its season, the Sault Sabercats are moving forward with no thought to playing in 2021.

“We’re assuming the season is not happening,” Steve Nott, president of the Sault Amateur Football Association, told The Sault Star on Wednesday. “I’m 99 per cent sure we won’t play and so we’re seeing what we can offer the kids this summer in order to give them some form of football.”

That, he added, could include skills camps, or possibly flag football for younger players. Nott also mentioned scrimmages as an option he and Cats coaches will consider.

The SAFA oversees the Sabercats varsity and junior varsity teams, who compete in the OFC, along with the Sault Minor Football League, a local development loop for elementary school students.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the OFC is waiting, hopeful of maybe running a shortened season, possibly beginning `in July. However, such an idea would apparently only include teams in the Southern part of the province.

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Ontario was placed in another lockdown on April 3. On Wednesday, Nott repeated some of what he’d said in a pre-lockdown, March 26 story.

On that day, he offered the opinion there’s a “90 per cent chance or more we’re not playing this year.”

During Wednesday’s interview, he again noted how “unless something changes that allows us to take busses and allows us to take a team of 50 players to Toronto, we’re done.”

Further, he spoke of how he “can’t really see any pathway that would give us a season at all. I don’t see how it would happen in the time frame we’re looking at right now.”

Presently, body contact is not allowed in Ontario for anything other than professional sports teams. As well, social-distancing rules preclude teams from filling a bus in order to travel to road games.

And while some OFC teams are holding out hope and trying to find a path toward playing football, Nott said the Sabercats “won’t be the ones to drive the move to have a season.”

Nott went on to explain how teams in the league, while sharing information with each other, are learning that area public health units are informing those clubs under their jurisdiction “they’ll be lucky to have tackle football by the fall. Even Football Canada is saying because of how cautious everyone is being, we’ll be lucky to have football by the fall,” Nott recounted.

Football Canada is the national governing body of all amateur football in this country.

The last game played in the Sault’s High School Senior Football League took place on Oct. 25, 2019. Korah defeated St. Mary’s 42-3 that day in the city final at Superior Heights.

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