MILLVILLE – On Monday, the Ridgeline Riverhawks learned their home opener against Cyprus would not happen after two players on the Pirates football team tested positive for coronavirus. Upon learning that Cyprus would not be making the trip to Cache Valley, the Riverhawks coaching staff started burning up the phone lines trying to find a replacement opponent.
“We reached out to a lot of teams in Idaho,” Ridgeline’s head football coach Travis Cox said during an interview on 106.9 The Fan. “I sent an email to coaches throughout Utah. We had one possibility down in St. George. But with logistics it was hard to make it work.
“A lot of teams in Idaho have a 10 practice rule. They hadn’t had enough practices or we would have had something there.”
Cox said it was inevitable that his season would be affected by coronavirus, as it’s likely disruptions may occur throughout the state. Cox said his team doesn’t conduct regular coronavirus tests on players, but they do regular temperature checks and monitor the players to see if they exhibit any symptoms, especially before any games or before getting on a bus.
“We’re just grateful that we have a season,” Cox said of the disruption in his team’s schedule, “and that if we have to lose a game here or there it’s better than not having any games at all.”
The Riverhawks had already had their season impacted by coronavirus, not because of any positive cases, but because of travel restrictions imposed by the Cache County School District. Ridgeline opened their season by defeating Pine View 42-38 in a game that was supposed to be played in Southern Utah. Instead, the game was moved to West Lake High School in Saratoga Springs. The Cache County School District is not allowing teams or school organizations to travel anywhere that may include an overnight stay.
The first-year head coach and former USU Aggie quarterback said his team has been treating this week like a bye.
“After playing your first game and having a few bumps and bruises through camp, we’ve come to realize it might not be a bad time for us to have a week to recuperate and really look at what we need to fix going forward for the year. For us, it’s been a bit of a blessing in surprise.”
Regarding his team’s season-opening win, Cox said it helps to build confidence in his offense while also recognizing the mistakes that were made.
Cox was a standout quarterback at Mountain Crest High School and was a two-year starter at Utah State University in 2003 and 2004. This is his first year as a high school head coach, but grew up watching and playing the game under his dad, Dan Cox, who was a successful football coach at both Mountain Crest and Bear River high schools. Much like his situation playing for his dad, Travis has his own son playing under center for the Riverhawks.
“It was an unreal moment. I’ve always wanted to coach. I love the game. I love the kids,” Cox exclaimed. “I’ve always been around the game and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
“There comes a time when you get older and you think that’s never going to happen, I won’t be a high school coach. But opportunity came about and I’m fortunate to have a good employer at ICON who let me carry out a dream of mine.”
Cox says his son Kaden shares a lot of the same traits Travis exhibited as a young quarterback, while being better at protecting his body.
“He reminds me a lot of myself, other than he’s a lot better than I was throwing the ball. He stays in the pocket better than I ever did. He runs around and makes plays, gets his guys going. I definitely see similarities, that’s for sure.”
The Riverhawks are now preparing for 5A Farmington, who is scheduled to be in Millville the night of August 28th.