Riverside football players say delayed season is OK with them -- as long as they get to play

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Donte McCall and Landin Sledge are both rising seniors at Riverside High School and both figure to be a huge part of the Pirates offense this season -- if there is one.

That remains a big if, but both of them went into Wednesday expecting the worst, so news that the football calendar is sliding into February - well, that was A-OK with them.

"I didn't know what to think. I was just so excited. All this work we put in during the whole of summer and fall, we finally get to put it to work, you know, come February." McCall said.

Sledge didn't mind the delay too much either.

"As long as we're playing, and I've got my teammates with me. Either way, doesn't matter what time we play," he said.

Sledge and McCall have been putting in the work, like they were on this Wednesday evening doing speed drills with the Durham Express track team.

"Waking up super early getting in my meals so I can work out three to four times a day, three to four days a week. My rest days are the weekends," McCall said.

The notion that all this sweat equity could potentially come to nothing is not a thought they even want to entertain, especially as seniors. Sledge explained.

"Knowing that our season wasn't canceled and I have a chance to have a senior year, especially with my fellow classmates and teammates, to be able to build that bond going into college is something that I really want," he said.

McCall said that as a senior, he is taking a leadership role on making sure that his teammates and those around him are practicing safe behaviors.

"Most definitely," he said. "Tell everybody's to just stay on their P's and Q's and if everybody listens, the outcome will be right."

Sledge threw for more than 3,000 yards and accounted for 47 touchdowns last year and McCall ran for 900 yards. Translation -- they are potential next-level talents. Getting on the field and getting college eyes on them could make all the difference come February. McCall just wants that chance.

"It's very important," he said. "Especially with the colleges we're looking to go and the people that's looking at us, we finally get a chance to show what we can do and get us on their radar."

Sledge is single-minded about his dream.

"My goal is to play at the next level," he said. "What division doesn't matter to me, but as long as I'm able to go play college football, that's all it matters."
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