May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Segerstrom players return to field under new health and safety guidelines

Segerstrom football players go throughout workouts Monday on their first day of conditioning drills. (Photos courtesy Segerstrom football)

It was a big day Monday as Segerstrom High School football players and coaches were on the field for the first time this year in preparation for the scheduled start of the season in January 2021.

Officials with the Santa Ana Unified School District gave the go-ahead for high school sports teams to begin off-season workouts under safety guidelines including social distancing. No footballs are allowed to be used.

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High school sports have been shut down since March because of the coronavirus pandemic but CIF officials have a plan in place to start football in January 2021 if health officials approve it.

However, Coach Joseph Tagaloa was able to lead his team in workouts Monday. Only players, coaches and school personel were allowed to attend. Schools in the district are still using remote learning only.

“Today was our first day back for the varsity group, with the anticipation that both of our lower levels will be starting next week,” Tagaloa said in an Email Monday.

“Prior to today, like many programs, we were utilizing virtual meetings to communicate with our players and requiring individual workouts by each player. Now that our district has approved our return to play plan, I am excited to see our guys in person. We are abiding by the Phase II guidelines which means no shared equipment with an emphasis of social distancing, wearing masks and working within pods of 10 players per coach.

“Under these circumstances, challenges definitely present themselves when it comes to building camaraderie amongst the entire team, installing offensive and defensive packages, getting timing down between quarterbacks and wide receivers, but that is not what this time will be used for.

“Our goal for the entire month of October is to get all of our players in playing shape so that we can help prepare for live competition and the prevention of injury. We are going through circuits rotating each pod through football related training emphasizing on overall conditioning.

“Getting everyone acclimated to working out and being active is going to be a process, but one that is instrumental in our overall success for the upcoming season. We will be without sharing equipment (footballs, sleds, shields, etc.) for the entire month of October. We are hoping to move into Phase III come November, which would lift some restrictions.”

Tagaloa said he realizes the challenges ahead as his team prepares for its scheduled opener Jan. 8 at North Torrance.

“My message to my players is to stay positive and focus on the things that you can control,” he said. “There is no point in being frustrated or angry over things that are out of our hands. With the right attitude we can continually get better and prepare for the upcoming season.

“Our plan is to train daily Monday- Friday with a different emphasis each day so that we are not overworking our athletes but building them both mentally and physically. Our lower levels will also be working out at a lower scale three times a week.”

The Jaguars’ coach is looking for a number of players to lead the way.

“This season we have several returning starters and a couple first time starters who we will look to for their leadership and physical play,” he said. “On offense Nathan Tagaloa (FB) and Johnathan Mota (RB) will look to lead the team on the ground, while Frankie Gonzalez (QB) and Kevin Higareda (WR) will take to the air,” he said.

“Defensively, we will look to Israel (OJ) Escobedo and Pablo Flores to anchor our defensive front, while Nicholas Padilla looks to lead our secondary.”

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