Future of high school football season uncertain

PVHS players to report next week; conditioning to resume at Nease Aug. 3

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Football players are still going to report to Ponte Vedra High Monday through Thursday to get ready for the new season, though it isn’t known when, or if, it will start.

For now, sessions include weightlifting, conditioning and basic drills.

Helmets and pads aren’t allowed. Neither is close contact. Masks are required in the weight room, and each piece of equipment is sanitized on an hourly basis.

The Florida High School Athletic Association decided earlier last week to push back the start of the fall sports season to July 27, only to change the first day of practice to Aug. 24 three days later.

The start of sports remains unsettled. Moreover, other than continued delays, there doesn’t seem to be a plan for the future, Ponte Vedra High coach Jeff DiSandro said.

“It is frustrating,” DiSandro said. “There doesn’t seem to be a plan. It’s probably the right thing to do to delay the season. But there are a lot of questions.”

DiSandro said there has been little discussion on how many games will be played in what’s certain to be a shortened season. Will there be a new playoff format? And, most importantly, what is the protocol if a player tests positive for COVID-19?

“Right now, we can only control what we can control,” DiSandro said.

Conditioning will resume at Nease High on Aug. 3, according to a post by coach Collin Drafts on the school’s athletic page.

“I’m just really pleased with how hard the boys have been working, first and foremost, but how well we’ve been able to adapt and adjust as a football program through these trying times we’re all dealing with,” Drafts said.

“We’ve been anxiously waiting around for the Florida High School league to make the call on when the heck can we start real football. I know I’m ready for that. I know the players are, and I’m sure you guys are, too.

“Unfortunately, it’s not going to be anytime soon.”

Football isn’t the only high school sport that’s been put on hold by the coronavirus. Volleyball, swimming and diving, cross country and boys and girls golf seasons also have been delayed.

Football teams face the most uncertainty, especially since spring practices were canceled because of the pandemic. Along with the Aug. 24 restart date came the suggestion games could start as quickly as Sept. 11.

Both coaches have used social media to keep players and parents informed of the continually changing situation. They also vowed to take every possible measure to keep the children safe.

Parents, guardians, siblings and other visitors aren’t allowed on campus during practice times, and parents aren’t allowed to get out of their cars when they pick up their children.

The next FHSAA board meeting is scheduled for the week of Aug. 10-17.

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