Game: Osborne (0-0) at Woodland (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Osborne 37, Woodland 33 (Sept. 11, 2009)
All-time series: Woodland leads 5-2
Prediction: Woodland 14, Osborne 6
After fighting through the changes thrown their way due to the pandemic, Osborne will open its season against Woodland on Friday.
Coach Russ Isham said the start of the season has been challenging for his program.
“The pandemic has been tough on Osborne, it has hit us really hard,” Isham said. “Just dealing with the practice dynamic and all that.”
The Cardinals are not only dealing with practice woes, Isham also said that the pandemic has impacted the size of his team.
“Had it not been for the pandemic I would have 75 players on the team,” said Isham, who has 60 players on the roster. “It was some moms who did not want their players out there, which I respect that decision.”
Isham said his main focus is keeping his team healthy.
None of the current Cardinals have faced Woodland before. This will be the first meeting between the programs in 11 years, but Isham is confident that his team has a good idea of what to expect.
“We have been fortunate to think we know what to expect from them,” Isham said. “We have been doing things to try to get reps in practice to get ready for them.”
Woodland opened the season last week with a 14-0 victory over Class AA Gordon Central.
While Isham said he has a young team, he does have a few players returning who he thinks can help lead this program in the right direction.
Senior offensive lineman Jalen Bowling, who is a three-year starter, is one player Isham has big expectations for this season.
“He has been dedicated to this program every year and supports everything about this program,” Isham said. “He leads by example.”
Isham also has big plans for senior Zyler Johnson, who plays on both the offensive line and the defensive line. Isham said that Johnson is a great leader on both sides of the ball.
Senior wide receiver Deontae Morgan will be a focal point of the offense.
“He has experience and he is a big playmaker for us,” Isham said.
The Cardinals are continuing to fight through the challenges brought to them by the pandemic and Isham said they hope to continue to improve as a team.
“We are just hoping to get better and better each day,” Isham said.