BOISE — As local high school football programs prepare for the fall season, participation numbers are up this year.
"I think there is a lot of reasons for that, and one of them is probably COVID because they missed their baseball season, they missed their track season, and they weren't able to do much during the summertime either," said Bishop Kelly High School football coach, Tim Brennan.
He currently has over 140 players on his roster, compared to the 105 he had last year.
Of their 30 seniors signed up this year, ten of them didn't play last year. Aiden McCarthy being one of them who decided after baseball season was canceled that he wanted to play football.
"It was a pretty boring three months," said McCarthy. "I just wanted to be out competing again, and now that I'm out working out and having fun with my friends again, it's awesome."
Brennan said that when he reached out to other coaches across the Treasure Valley, they all said something similar: It's remarkable how many players are showing up for workouts.
"I've never seen these numbers before, I think it has a lot to do with everyone being cooped up for so long and not able to see anyone," said Capital High School football coach, Todd Simis.
But that's not the only thing that's different.
"There's just a different feeling, and it's hard to describe, said Simis. "I think everybody is happy to be back; everybody is happy to be in the company of each other and coaches too."
Although the teams are limited to contactless practice, which means a lot of strength and conditioning, they are just happy to be back together.
"The first day that we had workouts three weeks ago, it was like Christmas," said Brennan. "I've done it for 25 years as a head coach; every year is a little bit different. This year was a lot different. They came in with smiles and excited to go run and lift, which is not always what they are excited to do."