Football vs. lacrosse: Pandemic has Triangle’s multi-sport athletes making tough choices

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Some of the best football players in the Triangle won’t get to play their senior seasons. Instead, they’ll be tied up competing in the sport they’ll play in college: lacrosse.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association decided football and lacrosse will both be played in the spring.

“I don’t know why they wouldn’t just put fall sports later so people can do both,” said Middle Creek’s Campion White. “I don’t make the decision but it’s hard it’s just one of those tough decisions in life you’ll have to make.”

There’s still hope for a compromise that will separate the two sports. It’s an ongoing battle that will be hard to win. The COVID-19 pandemic shuffled sports to foreign seasons, and athletes are caught in the middle.

“I’ve played lacrosse since I was fourth grade and football since I was in the second grade,” explained Apex two-sport standout Gabe Swanser. “I think it’s tough. It’s your senior year and it’s the last time you’ll ever play a sport like football. When you’re done, you’re done.”

The lacrosse season was lost last year because of the pandemic. Now it will be played in January and February when the weather can be rough.

“Yeah, it’s definitely devastating,” said Holly Springs star Joey Annetta. “Only playing four or five games last year and maybe having a shorter schedule again this year is definitely frustrating.”

Now, these two-sport standouts are forced to make a grown-up decision they never thought they’d have to make.

“I’m going to play lacrosse in college,” said Cardinal Gibbons standout Blake Cooling. “So that’s leading me towards lacrosse this spring, but there’s nothing like football on Friday nights.”

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