Sports: High School Football In SoCal Is Pushed Back Once Again Thanks To COVID-19

by Diego Santizo, Sports Editor

In what was supposed to soon be the grand reopening for De La Salle and St. John Bosco, kicking off the high school football season in California will have to be delayed once again due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Kobe Pepe (44), leads St. John Bosco onto the field in a trinity league game.

The rematch of last season’s Open Division state championship game, won by Bosco nearly 12 months ago, was scheduled to unfold in Southern California on January 8th.

The announcement last Tuesday has determined that high school football practice in California won’t start until state health officials provide guidelines for youth sports, presumably once COVID-19 cases are flattened once again, thus the De La Salle-Bosco game won’t happen in early January.

De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said Tuesday that it could, noting that in conversations he’s had with coaches, including Bosco’s Jason Negro, everybody is on the same page.

“Let’s get games in for our kids,” Alumbaugh said. “We’re obviously not playing Bosco on January 8th. There is no way to dive into that type of thing. Obviously, dates are going to have to be shuffled.”

Coach Negro is also doing his part as he wants to give his team some sort of hope that they will play a game this season. 

“We are trying to give our boys a glimmer of hope in a time that is so uncertain for all of us, not only in our own state but in our own country,” Negro said.

Neither regional or state championship games will be happening this year as the CIF announced last Tuesday that those games will be removed from the fall calendar because it wants as many students as possible to play as long of a season as possible.

Alumbaugh just wants kids at his school and elsewhere to play, no matter the sport, while Negro is trying to look at the bright side despite it being hard to take some positives from these types of situations.

“As an educator, what I am trying to do is provide the kids with some positivity and let them know there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is just another obstacle in our way of trying to continue to navigate this virus,” said Coach Negro after finding out about the setback. 

Just as many schools have, Bosco have gone through conditioning workouts since June, following social-distancing protocols, going through countless temperature checks and separating into pods.

Couple those workouts with pre-pandemic weight training in January and February and Zoom video sessions in the spring, that’s a lot of commitment without playing a single game.

Since March 2nd, the only ones that have been restricted have been the kids.

“I would like for the local and state government to please start communicating a little bit more and to at least start putting some guidelines and restrictions in order so we can be shown a path forward so we can get these kids back into a competitive sport environment,” Negro has pleaded, as he wants an opportunity to show that he and his staff can navigate camp in a safe manner instead of completely shutting them down.

Negro has stated his frustration with the guidance given more than once as he has also said “We don’t get any kind of guidance from the state legislator, our mayor, the governor, the health department and it’s so frustrating for me because I have to try to answer these questions the kids always ask me and I don’t have answers for them.”

The announcement last Tuesday made it clear there won’t be any games until the California Department of Public Health provides guidance.

It has been made clear this isn’t just a learning process for the boys, but for Coach Negro as well as all of what has been happening has all been unprecedented.  

As of right now normal field practices will continue as planned for Bosco until December 17th. Starting December 21st, the weight room will begin to be available from freshmen all the way up to varsity 

In the meantime, it’s business as usual in the era of coronavirus, such as conditioning in small groups and having more questions than answers.

Without a shroud of a doubt, many fans of the Trinity League and high school football coaches in general hope to see their kids get some action once again. As for the fans of the reigning National Champion Bosco Braves, we most certainly hope to see the Braves back in action against the De La Salle Spartans sometime soon.

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