May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Saddleback and Godinez won’t play football this season; other SAUSD teams on

Saddleback players celebrate after a touchdown in 2019. (File photo courtesy Mark Bausman, For OC Sports Zone)

Saddleback and Godinez will not be competing in the abbreviated spring high school football season starting later this month, according to Fermin Leal, chief communications officer for the Santa Ana Unified School District.

“Saddleback and Godinez will not field football teams because lack of participation,” Leal said. “All other schools do have plans to compete.”

Saddleback Athletic Director Rob Thompson cited lack of facilities at the school due to a number of teams playing in the rescheduled spring seasons as a major reason to not compete in football.

“There is no room for all the teams to practice and play,” he said. “Also, we have mostly younger players and they haven’t had an opportunity to train properly to get physically ready for varsity football; it’s a safety concern.”

Thompson said that Glenn Campbell, who was hired in March, will continue to coach the Roadrunners as they prepare for the regular fall season. Saddleback was 1-9 overall and 0-5 in the Orange Coast League in 2019 under Coach Nick Diulio, who resigned after the season.

Thompson said that Saddleback will field teams in cross country and water polo, which are now allowed by the latest CIF guidelines and then track and field, swimming, soccer, baseball and softball and basketball if the sport eventually gets the OK. Basketball is currently in the minimal yellow tier.

“It’s been a real difficult task with all the protocols and now with mandatory testing it gets even more difficult but we’re doing the best we can to make sure the kids get to play,” Thompson said.

Godinez Athletic Director Lisa Treen could not be reached for comment.

The decision by Saddleback and Calvary Chapel, which is also not competing in football, leaves the Orange Coast League with two less teams. Godinez competes in the Golden West League.

Santa Ana High School Athletic Director Brian Lillie said the Saints football team will open play on Friday, March 12 at Valencia. The program will have three levels. He added Santa Ana is looking to fill out one week of its schedule.

Segerstrom football coach Joseph Tagaloa said the Jaguars will open at home on Thursday, March 18 against Laguna Beach. Other games are planned on Thursday, April 2 at Katella; Friday, April 9 at Garden Grove and Friday, April 16 at home against Marina.

The team is finalizing its game for Friday, March 26, he said.

“We are excited to be back out there,” Tagaloa said. “We are still finalizing our schedule.”

Century Athletic Director Matt Cavanaugh said his squad will open at home against Anaheim on Friday, March 19. The Centurions will then play at Santa Ana Valley on Friday, March 26; meet Savanna on Friday April 2 at Glover Stadium; play at Magnolia on Friday, April 9 and finish by hosting Western on Friday, April 16.

Santa Ana Valley officials announced on Twitter the football team will open a five-game schedule on Friday, March 19 Savanna. The Falcons’ second game will be at home on Friday, March 26 against Century.

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