Editorial: Redhawks ready for home opener in a strange spring season

It's not uncommon for the Southeast Missouri State University football team to hit the field each spring. But until this year, doing so was for intrasquad scrimmages only and not regular season competition.

Due to COVID-19, the fall schedule, other than one game SEMO lost to SIU, was postponed until spring. And the schedule is entirely made up of Ohio Valley Conference opponents.

Last Sunday, the Redhawks traveled to Eastern Illinois University and won in a 47-7 rout. This weekend, Southeast will play its first home game of the season against rival Murray State. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. Sunday. The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 21, but due to winter weather conditions was rescheduled. What a difference a couple weeks makes with Sunday's forecast near 60 degrees and sunny.

Last year was another good season for the Redhawks, which has turned into a consistent program under coach Tom Matukewicz. We're excited to see what they will do in their remaining games this spring.

While COVID-19 numbers appear to be headed in the right direction both locally and statewide, it's still important to take proper precautions as vaccine distribution continues. All Southeast sports have done so this school year, and the football team is no exception.

The NFL was able to finish its season with only minimal postponements due to virus outbreaks. One thing that was learned is that virus spread happened in community where players were around each other for periods of time, in some cases without masks or in areas with poor ventilation (ex: meeting rooms, eating together, carpools). By taking proper protocols, a full season was played complete with playoffs and a Super Bowl. Officials say there is no evidence of transmission during play. That's good news for SEMO football as they look to also complete their season without disruption from the virus.

Congratulations to Coach Tuke and staff on keeping players focused this year in spite of so many distractions. We wish the Redhawks well and look forward to rooting them on at Houck.