BLUEFIELD — There is just over a month remaining until the first game of the season for the Bluefield High School football team, but the Beavers still don’t have their schedule set in stone.
The schedule was broken up when the first date for 2020 games was pushed back in West Virginia. Then four games officially came off the schedule when Virginia decided to not play football this fall.
That left Bluefield with just six games on its schedule, which would make them ineligible for playoffs in a normal season.
“We were hoping to play the Virginia schools cause they’re close by, they’ve been great rivalries over the years,” Bluefield head football coach Fred Simon said.
Bluefield has since been working with schools to move around games to accommodate new opponents and has a seventh game settled — which will be a second game against Princeton.
“We’re looking to move a game around here and there, we have one game picked up to give us seven at this point and that’s going to be Princeton. We’re going to play them a second time,” Simon said.
The Beavers and Tigers were already set to play September 4 at Mitchell Stadium.
In normal years it has usually been difficult for the Beavers to find teams willing to play a two-game series. Bluefield has had to play opponents from farther away, including Tennessee, North Carolina along with usual Virginia opponents.
Before the changes, this year’s slate would have included Lord Botetourt in addition to local rivals Graham, Tazewell and Richlands.
“With where we are located and our successful record, we’ve had a hard time getting games for a long time,” Simon said.
Simon does not expect Bluefield to play a full 10-game regular season schedule this year but sees eight games as a more likely outcome.
Combined with potential playoff games, Simon would be satisfied with the schedule considering the circumstances.
“If we can get eight I feel like that’s pretty good this year and give us two bye weeks at some point in our schedule wherever that may turn out and hopefully have enough wins to get in the playoffs,” Simon said.
The requirement of eight games to be eligible for playoffs has been waived this year and the rating system used to calculate the teams that make the postseason does not hurt teams for playing fewer games.
The system tallies up the points each team gets and then divides them by the number of games played by that respective team.
“No matter how many games we have, they’re going to divide it by the number of games you play so that’s not going to kill us as far as our ratings go,” Simon said.
Simon has been looking to see if an out-of-state team would be interested in playing, but many states are not wanting their teams to travel outside of the state lines for games.
“A lot of those schools are not going to probably be allowed out of their state,” Simon said.
“We had a Tennessee team we had thought about a little bit, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to work it out now that we’ve picked up Princeton.”
Even in-state teams are less inclined to schedule new games that require long travel on buses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The way travel situations are you don’t really want to have to teravel five, six hours for a game unless you already had it on your schedule,” Simon said.