Jays, Bobcats to start football season on Oct. 2
Let the games begin.
The LHSAA executive committee voted Wednesday to allow full-contact football practices and to move the season start up one week to Oct. 1-3.
According to LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine, teams will play their Week 3 opponent Oct. 1-3 to begin the season.
Bonine also said teams could begin contact practices and can scrimmage at the end of the month.
“It’s exciting that the LHSAA can contribute to some sort of normality for the students and schools,” Bonine said.
An opinion issued by Attorney General Jeff Landry last week said the LHSAA would not face added liability by starting full-contact football practices and playing games in Phase 2, a key step in moving forward with the season.
The LHSAA’s decision allows for an eight-game regular season and 32-team playoffs for non-select schools with a season that concludes in late December.
The executive committee also voted for select and non-select teams to play at the same sites for the 2020-21 playoffs and state tournaments.
In 2019-20, select football and basketball teams held stand alone title games apart from the LHSAA events before the pandemic.
The football title games are set for Dec. 26-28 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Eunice High will scrimmage at Kaplan on Sept. 24 and the Bobcats will open the season Oct. 2 at home against Ville Platte.
“Of course we would have liked to see a 10-game season,” EHS head coach Andre Vige said. “It’s great that we have an eight-game schedule and a 32-team playoff bracket.
“You can see the excitement in the guys’ eyes and they are ready to get after it.”
Vige said his team shouldn’t have any trouble acclimating to the full gear after weeks of being in the summer heat.
“We have leadership, we are just looking to build depth around those guys,” Vige said. “You can’t go through the course of the season and not have injuries.”
Vige said his staff is trying to guide his team through the COVID-19 issues and to follow the protocols to keep his player safe.
With the coronavirus pademic concerns, the LHSAA made several recommendations.
Neck gaiters are recommended for players as they would be easier than keeping up with masks and pulled down when he is on the field.
They should be pulled over the nose/mouth when the player is on sidelines with his helmet off.
Sideline personnel also will also to be limited as the team area has been expanded to the 15-yard lines.
Temperature checks and hand sanitizer will also be needed on sidelines.
Plans for spectators for all fall sports are still to be finalized, but would tentatively allow for 50% occupancy for football stadiums and gyms for volleyball.
St. Edmund will scrimmage Vermilion Catholic on Sept. 25 and open the season at Avoyelles on Oct. 2.
“We will pick up the tempo over the next two weeks,” St. Edmund head coach James Shiver said. “We will be ready when the season gets here.”
Shiver said he would like to see the select team playoff bracket expanded to 32 teams with the top teams getting a first-round bye.
“As it is now with 16 teams, it is hard to earn a home game to start the playoffs,” he said. “Especially this year where we won’t have the regular full schedule.
“We earn power points by playing the teams we normally face early in the season.”
Shiver said his team has waited a long time and they are ready to play the games.
The LHSAA’s two-year reclassification period was pushed back until February 2021 because of Hurricane Laura issues with 179 of its 404 member schools.
Classification decisions are normally made in the fall and based on fall enrollment figures.