High school football still up in the air for Scappoose, St. Helens
Most summers, high school football players would be playing seven-on-seven, hitting the weight room and attending summer camps to work on their skills and increase their visibility with college recruiters.
And mid-August — Aug. 17 this year — always marks the official start of the fall high school sports season.
While Aug. 17 still remains scheduled as the first day of practice on the Oregon School Activities Association calendar, the first fall contests have already been pushed back from Aug. 27 to Sept. 23. Further, both Scappoose and St. Helens high schools previously announced that school won't start until Sept. 8 and will begin in a virtual setting.
Beyond that, there's been talk about some sports eventually being played in the fall while others might migrate to the spring. So let's get right to it — what about football?
So far, no one really knows for sure. All that's known for certain is this, from a July 22 release by the OSAA Executive Board:
"Football is considered a full contact activity per the Governor's and OHA guidelines and is currently prohibited. No definitive date has been established by the state for a review of this prohibition. Based on strategies provided by the OSAA Football Contingency Group it is necessary that any Football restrictions be lifted by September 28 in order to have a modified regular season this Fall that would include some type of restructured postseason."
Needless to say, that leaves the St. Helens and Scappoose football programs and their players hanging.
"A lot of my parents are asking me 'What do you know? What do you know?'" said St. Helens football coach Cory Young. "I know exactly what you know. So that's what I hear them looking at now, just because of it being a contact sport and it being prohibited. We're kind of in a gray area."
"We're kind of in a gray area."
— Cory Young,
St. Helens football coach
"They're concerned. I see it in their eyes and I can hear it in their voice."
— Sean McNabb,
Scappoose football coach
"They haven't put a date for football and just are going back to school online to start," said Scappoose football coach Sean McNabb. "It's not ideal. … I feel really bad for a lot of these kids because (they) had their spring sports canceled and programs canceled, theater and all that. For some of these kids, that's what drives them, what keeps them motivated to be in school and gives them opportunities to do things that they'll never do again."
With so many questions unanswered, the Lions' and Indians' players are all left wondering what will happen with their senior seasons. If the fall season is allowed start on Sept. 23, the OSAA says that there's still a chance for a truncated regular season and postseason schedule.
"My youngest (son, incoming junior quarterback/linebacker Luke McNabb), he's asking me all the time, 'What have you heard? What have you heard?'" McNabb said. "We have some kids that have worked their tails off. They can't wait for their senior year. And you know, they're concerned. I see it in their eyes and I can hear it in their voice."
"You got your seniors wondering if they're going to get to play under the lights again, which is a pretty tough thing for a senior boy to be going through," Young said. "And then you have the younger kids, the freshmen that are really excited to get in the program and do things who (haven't gotten) to be part of the program yet. So yeah, I think kids in general, in all sports, they want to get out and go and do what they've been doing."
If the 2020 Oregon high school football is eventually delayed, that doesn't mean it won't happen. Both Washington and California have already announced delays to the high school football season, with California teams scheduled to kick off in December and Washington schools to follow suit in March.
"My hope is that they maybe follow the Washington model," McNabb said. "At least if it's a condensed season, it's better than not having a season at all."
"It's interesting to see what California and Washington have done. We're kind of taking different routes," Young said. "I guess we're just taking a little bit more time, the OSAA's taking a little more time to make an informed decision … for communities and families and parents and players and coaches on what the next thing is to go forward."
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