The players from Sacred Heart and Ville Platte High meet in the middle of the field after completing the traditional T-Cotton Bowl Haka during the iconic game this past season. Both Sacred Heart and Ville Platte are able to get back to summer workout activities starting tomorrow. (Gazette photo by Tracey Jagneaux)
Football is back!!??
High school football in Evangeline Parish is back, so to speak.
Tomorrow is the day that all schools throughout the state can begin summer sports training as per the LHSAA order handed down last month. That means that athletic teams, more specifically football teams, here in Evangeline Parish will get to start back up from what has been a long lay-off.
However, the start is not without some limitations. Just recently, the LHSAA sent every school in the state a 21 page guidance for opening up high school activities and athletics report.
The report, based on National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) recommendations, lists regulations and guidelines that schools must follow in order to begin the summer athletic activities.
Among the myriad of requirements set forth for athletic programs in the report, taking temperatures of athletes before they are able to participate in any activity is a top priority. Another guideline limits groups of athletes to 25 or less for those states in Phase II, of which Louisiana is currently in.
Other guidelines include how to properly sanitize equipment and facilities and regulations on making sure athletes do not cross contaminate any equipment used.
“These are guidelines … we are not the remediation police. Once practices start, it will be up to the schools and school systems to handle that,” LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said Wednesday. “By waiting until June 8, we do believe more schools have been able to put solid plans in place.”
According to Evangeline Parish Athletic Director Johnny Deshotel, all schools will need to be very diligent in adhering to those regulations sent down by the LHSAA.
“Mr. Lazard (Evangeline Parish Superintendent) expects that all schools are to completely follow the guidelines as recommended. All of the schools have received at least two non-touch temperature monitors, which is to be used to take the athletes temperature before they begin any type of workout or activity. Coaches and anyone that are in a supervisory role will have to record those temperatures and keep it on file. The parish will be coming around to periodically check to ensure that requirements are being met.” Deshotel said.
Sacred Heart High School, which is not under the jurisdiction of the Evangeline Parish School Board, will still have to adhere to the same guidelines as all other public schools in the state. In fact, the school had to submit a plan to the Diocese of Lafayette on how they were going to approach coming back to campus to participate in athletic activities.
“We participated in a Zoom meeting that advised us on how to implement the guideline sent down by the LHSAA,” stated Sacred Heart head coach Josh Harper. “It tells us that we can only have 25 athletes in the weight room at one time, but we decided to cut that down to 12 at a time.”
“We just felt it would be easier to make sure that we were adhering to the social distance requirements and if one player gets sick, the entire group is ,” Harper continued. “It makes it harder on the coaching staff and it will require a lot of supervision on our part, but it is what we have to do in order to get going. I know we are ready to go and the players are definitely ready to get back to football.”