Everything will be different for high school football this fall

By DAMON SMITH,

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association is moving the start of the 2020 high school football season back to October 8. This is due to Governor John Bel Edwards’ decision to keep the state in Phase 2 until at least August 28.
The LHSAA season was set to begin on August 28 with jamborees including the Washington Parish jamboree which was to be held at Franklinton High School this season and it would have featured Franklinton, Pine, Varnado and Bogalusa.
All LHSAA teams will now begin play with their scheduled week three opponents and skip all scrimmages and jamborees in an effort to limit exposure with outside teams, players, coaches and fans.
LHSAA director Eddie Bonine said, "We need 10-14 days in Phase 3 and a decline in positive cases, then at that point we can start collision sports. After that we need 21 days to toughen players up."
He adds that football plans will not impact the start of other sports such as basketball or wrestling.
Bonine further added that playoffs could be trimmed down to fewer teams, meaning fewer rounds of games. However, the LHSAA has said they would allow teams not qualifying for the playoffs to play a "bowl" game with another non-playoff team to recoup finances for both teams. These bowl games would have to be played by the regional round of the playoffs and they encouraged them to be played on Saturdays if played during the bi-district round of the playoffs or on Thursday or Saturday if during the regional round of the playoffs.
LHSAA has since issued a memo noting numerous protocol restrictions for games. All players except the 22 on the field must wear a mask. All other personnel on the sideline must wear a mask. Only one player will go out for the coin toss. Team box areas that usually extend from the 25 yard line to the 25 yard line will now extend from the 15 to the 15 to allow more social distancing.
The LHSAA is also highly recommending that roster size be limited to essential players only. Whether or not fans would be allowed in the stands for games would not be up to the LHSAA but would be up to local authorities or the state government.
The Era-Leader contacted Franklinton Junior High football coach Andy Creel, who advised that the junior high would be doing the same as the high schools in delaying their season until the same date and following all the same protocols.

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