May 20, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Full high school football schedule planned starting this week but coronavirus still a concern

Tackling drills

Santa Ana High School players go through workouts earlier this month in preparation for the season opener on Friday, Aug. 20 on the road against Long Beach Millikan. (Photo: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

It’s the opening week of the high school football season and expecations are that a full season will be completed as scheduled although it is not known what affect the coronavirus pandemic will play.

Orange County football teams and other squads throughout the Southern Section will be opening up seasons on Thursday and Friday night. Other teams will open next week.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the season last season until March, when an abbreviated five-game schedule started. No CIF playoffs were held and some teams had to cancel their seasons early.

For the fall, a regular football schedule is planned with playoffs and with more people getting vaccinated, it appears the chances of a full season with playoffs are more likely.

But cancellations could still be possible.

Thom Simmons, assistant CIF Southern Section Commissioner, answered a few questions from OC Sports Zone entering week one of the football season.

What happens if a game has to be called off due to a positive case?

Simmons: “That is an individual school and school district function.”

What would happen if a game is called off?

Simmons: “Those games will be considered ‘non-contests.'”

Will the California Department of Public Health release any updated guidelines?

Simmons: “Unclear. The CIF State Executive Director, Ron Nocetti, is in constant contact with the CDPH and if there are any changes to current guidelines we will make our schools aware of such.”

Irvine Unified School District Athletic Director Mark Cunningham indicated last week that athletes were being pre-screened but said testing so far has not been required for athletes. All football teams in the district were cleared to begin practice last week.

It appears that attendance at football games will be up to each individual school and school district. For most of the spring season, there were limits on fans.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com