DOYLESTOWN, Ohio (WJW) — Friday night lights — three words that need no introduction to anyone living in the Buckeye State.
Mike Bohley is no exception.
“It’s everything,” he said.
Before taking the job as athletic director at Chippewa High School, Bohley was their head football for a decade.
He calls their tradition special.
“We had a jam-packed Friday night crowd. It’s small-town America and everyone goes to the game on Friday nights,” he said.
However, Bohley’s program is running into a problem even the great Vince Lombardi couldn’t out-scheme.
Right now, Bohley estimates Chippewa has about 18 healthy players available for their next game.
It leaves them with a near-empty sideline and even less margin for error.
“We are dealing with what a lot of smaller schools are dealing with and that is just a lack of participation,” Bohley said.
Bohley doesn’t shy away from their number crunch.
In fact, he said they have been in constant contact with their league to make sure every team they play knows exactly what their situation is.
“The conversation is real. The first call I made after last Friday night’s game was the AD of this week’s game,” Bohley said.
Bohley understands that there are some people concerned about the health and safety of his players.
He also gets that he has a team that wants play.
It’s a balancing act with no easy answers.
“I’ll tell you the same thing I told my parents: ‘I don’t have a crystal ball and if I did, I’d play the lottery.'”
For now, his game plan is a football coach’s favorite cliché: Take it one week at a time.
It’s all in hopes of allowing his boys to finish what they started, while making sure to keep them safe.
“The athletic experience is just as valuable as the experience in the classroom. It’s part of the four-year experience for any male or female,” he said.
Bohley said they will play their next game, which is scheduled for Friday night.
They will evaluate their situation each week to make sure they are doing the right for their players and their next opponent.