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Prep football season pushed back

Thursday, August 6, 2020

In an expected move, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) has called a delay of game for the start of the 2020 prep football season.

That decision came after Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday announced that the state will remain in Phase Two COVID-19 reopening guidelines until at least Aug. 28.

In a memorandum sent out to Louisiana schools on Wednesday morning, LSHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said “the governor’s decision to remain in Phase Two for an additional 21 days, with a potential expiration date of Aug. 28, prompted me to request to LHSAA Executive Committee President David Frederico to have a LHSAA Executive Committee meeting (Wednesday) morning.”

Bonine in the memorandum went on to say that the new start of the 2020 football season date had been approved and that the meeting also “allowed for staff thoughts, plans to adjusted length of seasons, number of allowable contests, post-season qualifications and COVID-19 incident protocols before or during the season.”

A calendar attached to the memorandum had the earliest scrimmage date allowed, end of the regular season date and playoff start dates “to be determined.”

The LHSAA is reportedly planning for an eight-game regular season with the playoffs being extended possibly into January.

On Monday, Louisiana high school football teams started being allowed to use helmets and appro priate footwear only, hand shields and pop up dummies, ballhandling exchange drills, 7-on-7 intrasquad with no contact, static groupings of 25 students (indoors and outdoors). If groups convene indoors, they must convene in a room enclosed by a wall or partition.

That includes large rooms, such as gyms, and auditoriums (which may include more than one group if each group is separated by a wall or partition).

Today the teams will be allowed to add shoulder pads under the same other conditions.

Ruston High School head coach Jerrod Baugh said his Bearcats have been focusing on conditioning and probably will not don helmets and shoulder pads until next week.

All three parish teams — Ruston, Cedar Creek and Lincoln Preparatory School — have been conducting conditioning workouts since June under COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the Louisiana High School Athletics Association.

Bonine has said that the prep football season itself will not begin until the state has cleared Phase Three of reopening standards, so the prospective pushed-back Oct. 8 season start date will be contingent on that actually happening.