Dalton semi-pro football team is back on the field after COVID-19 hiatus

File photo

Tristan Gould carries the ball for the Dalton Danger during a 2019 game.

With most of the sports world on hold on most levels amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), sports fans in Northwest Georgia can still find some football to watch in person.

The Dalton Danger, a semi-professional team that plays in the National Developmental Football League, takes the field Saturday at 7 p.m. at Dalton’s Lakeshore Park against the Alabama Wolfpack, which is based near Birmingham, Alabama.

The Danger normally complete their schedule in the spring and early summer months, but were forced to take a hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They ceased playing in March, but returned June 13 for their first game after the outbreak, defeating the Smoky Mountain Ravens 36-0. Saturday will be the second, as the Danger battles for playoff positioning in their chase for a third NDFL title since the organization was founded in 2015.

“It was just a blessing just to be able to bring that back into your life,” John Caudill, one of the team’s owners, said of resuming play. “For me, it was phenomenal just to be able to get out there again and get out of the house, I feel like I was climbing up the walls.”

Caudill said hand sanitizer is available at the upcoming games, and face masks are encouraged but optional for attendees.

“We try to take as many precautions as we can for the safety side to keep everyone as safe as possible,” Caudill said.

The NDFL consists of teams from Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The league uses similar rules to what would normally be found in NCAA college football games, with 15-minute quarters and officials.

Caudill said the playoff format has not yet been decided by the league due to the virus, but will likely play out over the next month.

With the schedule taking place later than usual, Danger players face a new challenge apart from the COVID-19 scare.

“We normally play in the spring,” Caudill said. “The heat played such a factor too, because we normally don’t practice in it or play in it.”

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