DOVER — Chip Knapp has understood the finality of the situation for a couple months now.
Still, it hits a little harder when reality is staring you right in the face.
Knapp and his Wesley College football team went into last Friday night’s game at Christopher Newport knowing that it might be the final game the Wolverines ever play.
“Sometimes you just focus on the day-to-day things but now it’s starting to hit home,” said Knapp, Wesley’s veteran coach. “It’s become real to our players and the coaches that this is actually happening.
“When you’re involved in the football aspect of things — getting ready for games — it seems like business as usual. But when you start talking about your last game or last practice, then it makes you pause and kind of understand what’s really going on.”
The Wolverines had hoped to put off reality for one more week when they picked up a game with Stevenson a couple weeks ago. That contest was supposed to be played on Friday night at Drass Field.
But Stevenson opted out of the contest in order to play a conference game with Alvernia on Saturday.
So now Wesley is trying to find another game, perhaps on April 17 or 24. Knapp said he’s gotten some interest from other programs but nothing definite so far.
Either way, he wants to have some kind of football event to give a sendoff, perhaps with former players in attendance.
“We want to have some kind of closure,” said Knapp. “A celebration as best we can on short notice and COVID. It’s hard to do.”
Wesley is shutting down its athletic programs at the end the school year.
The Wolverines will continue working out this week and see if they have another game or not.
Of course, the best tribute this year’s team could give the program would be to go out with one last victory. They beat Christopher Newport, 23-7, on Friday to raise their record to 2-1 in the spring.
Considering everything that’s going on around them, Knapp said he’s proud of the way his players have performed on the field.
“They’ve been phenomenal, how they’ve handled everything,” he said. “There’s all kinds of different ways to go in this situation but they just wanted to play football. They showed their love for the game.
“They’ve gone about their business very well — just like you’d hope they would. That’s been something we’re very proud of, to see our guys respond to this adversity.
“They came out Friday and played real hard. They didn’t have any other real agendas, they just wanted to do it for each other. They played well as a team, had good energy and enthusiasm. It was another proud day for Wesley football.”