Arnold dealing with abrupt end to their football season, unrelated to their play on the field

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 9:40 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -Call it a second tough blow for the members of the Arnold football program in a four day span. The Marlins seeing their season

come to an unceremonious end Monday.

Because of the ongoing COVID related issues within the program, and the protocols associated with that, Arnold had no choice but to forfeit the team’s scheduled playoff game Friday at Baker County.

That comes on the heels of Arnold having to cancel the game this past Friday with county rival Mosley, which coach Campbell told me a few hours ago, was difficult enough.

“And then obviously with the information coming over this weekend where we weren’t going to be able to go to the playoffs was pretty heartbreaking.” Arnold head coach Shawn Campbell told me via Zoom Monday afternoon. “And especially for my seniors, you know their last opportunity to get into the playoffs. And to lose their last two games, not just the seniors but all of them. It’s unfortunate, it’s heartbreaking for my kids. You know we’ve been through so much as a group and all the turmoil we’ve been through, and to get all the way to the end of the season and not have the coronavirus affect us at all really, was pretty devastating. And we thought we kind of made it through and we could battle. Unfortunately that just wasn’t the plan.”

Coach Campbell says Friday he told the team, after losing the game against Mosley, to try and see it as another tough life lesson. That kind of message though, he says, can only be used so many times in a short period.

“It’s to me, become more evident that football’s about perseverance.” coach Campbell said. “And dealing with adversity. And this year we had a bunch of it. And it will make us all better people in the long run. But that’s hard to tell a teenager right now when you’re taking away their senior year, their first time in the playoffs, their first road trip in the playoffs. All the things that go along with that, when we were told that we weren’t going to be able to do that. It’s heartbreaking, it really is.”

So the Marlins wind up with a 2-4 record, in a season where they saw their head coach Norris Vaughan forced to step down because of health concerns. All they can do now is look ahead says the coach.

“2020 has definitely been interesting. Been a lot of ups and downs. For me personally, for our program, for our kids, for our fans, our parents, our community. All I can say is if we can get through this, we can get through anything. We’ve been through a lot. And I’m looking forward to the future. And I think the players that are returning, the families that are returning are looking forward to the future. So we’re going to work on it one day at time, try to get better. And make Arnold football and the Arnold Nation people proud.”

Coach Campbell says he and his staff were already working to help their seniors find places to play next season on the next level, and now will concentrate all their focus for now, on that effort.

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