BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS)– The Covid-19 pandemic produced a chaotic time period for high school sports, quarantines, contact tracing and cancellations became as common as penalties.
The Bluefield Beavers hope the worst is in the past, as they lost more than a quarter of their season in 2021.
“But that messed with us a lot during the early season,” said Head Coach Fred Simon. “We missed three straight weeks and didn’t get to practice, so hopefully we can make up for that and then have a smoother year.”
Despite the cancellations, injuries, and starting a few steps behind, Fred Simon and the Beavers rallied to the AA state semifinals. Although they fought to the very end, the Beavers still came up short.
“We went to point pleasant, don’t get me wrong. And going to North Marion and winning. And we were on a pretty good roll after having to sit out three weeks. It’s just Ryker got hurt and we just lost the mojo a little bit,” Simon told 59News.
Simon added that as a team they need to learn to succeed without their star players. He hopes a full offseason, and the foundation the program is built upon will help the guys on the field shine under the spotlight and add to the legacy.
“Live up to it and then be your own player. That comes first,” Simon told us. “But live it up and then make them proud of you have to end the season.”
Senior quarterback Caleb Fuller finds himself right in the fold going into the season, as he tries to take what he learned from graduates Carson Dee and Ryker Brown and translate it into touchdowns.
The senior is ready to show what he is made of.
“I would say I’m more of a pocket passer, you know that,” said Fuller. “I mean, if I have to run, I will. Now I feel like I’m pretty fast you know, I’ll stick my head down and run a little bit.”
An impactful player not only on the gridiron but also on the hardwood, Fuller is not a stranger to marquee matchups. He looks to take advantage of that experience when he steps under center in what is one of the biggest high school football rivalries in the entire country.
“It’s going to be a special experience, crazy atmosphere. But, you know, I’m excited for that. It’s awesome experience. not a lot of people get to do it,” added Fuller.
Luckily, he will not have to do it alone.
With Amir Hairston beside him in the backfield, and a battalion of beavers backing them up, they feel prepared to take on anything Graham, Indy, or Fairmont throw at them.
“I’m not worried about that. I really don’t care who they got. you gotta catch me,” added junior running back Amir Hairston.