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New Santa Clara County Restrictions Halt High School Football Preparations

Back in July, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced a revised schedule on high school sports for the state. For football, full-contact practices were scheduled to start on Dec. 14, with games starting in early January. However, the latest COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County will now prevent local schools from starting until late December at the earliest.

The County’s latest restrictions were announced on Nov. 28 and include a ban on contact sports for three weeks. The entirety of the high school football season is now in serious jeopardy.

“Everybody is kind of waiting for the governor to make a call on high school sports,” remarked Wilcox Head Coach Paul Rosa. “I think they are waiting as long as possible because they don’t want to cancel the whole season, but I don’t think we are going to be able to start practicing this month at all.”

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The common thought process amongst local coaches is that the best chance to have any kind of season at this point is probably to have a reduced 6-game league season without any non-league games. Typically, schools play four non-league games before playing every team in their league. A shortened season remains a possibility, but as Santa Clara Bruins’ Head Coach Burt Codera points out, any further delay in the season would be hard on this year’s juniors to have to turn around and play their senior fall season starting in August 2021.

“It’s getting so late, by the time we do have a season the juniors will have to turn around and play again in four months which is not really smart,” noted the Bruins’ Head Honcho. “Keeping us in limbo is terrible, it’s so stressful, no one knows what’s going on, it just sucks.”

Fremont Head Coach Rob Swartz echoed Codera’s comments about the unknown.

“I think the issue for everybody is the unknown. We are all waiting for some specific guidance from the state and the county and it just seems like we’re waiting and waiting and waiting. It’s hard to really move forward and plan anything when you’re just in this conditioning mode. It’s getting a little disheartening for everybody.”

At this point it is anyone’s best guess at when there will be some clarity on the season. Staying ready for a potential season only for the schedule continuing to get pushed back has been mentally taxing on coaches and players. Coach Codera has made it an emphasis to impress on his players to try to only worry about what they can control. Bruins’ junior quarterback Aiden Rangle seems to have taken that to heart and sounds cautiously optimistic about playing football this season.

“It’s definitely been frustrating, especially for the seniors, but we still have hope that the season could happen, so we’re just prepared for anything.”

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