Cole Parker, The Southerner Online
The Georgia High School Association’s board of trustees unanimously voted to push the start of the football season back two weeks. Other fall sports, however, will remain on schedule.
“During the pandemic, it’s really hard to be in those leadership positions because you’re not always going to please everybody,” head football coach Kevin Clark said. “It’s a tough call because you want to play the sport, but you also want to be safe. I think what they’ve done already, including making us wear masks and social distance ourselves, is great. It’s not right for me to decide whether their decision to postpone the season was good or bad.”
Although the football season will start Sept. 4 instead of Aug. 21, it will still consist of 10 games followed by five rounds of playoffs. This, GHSA president Glenn White says, is important.
“I wanted to keep the 10 [regular-season] games for all schools because they’re very dependent on playing those games for income, especially those that don’t make the playoffs,” White said. “So, that was my goal, to keep all 10 games. We all agreed that was important.”
Football scrimmages, which normally run two weeks before the regular season, are also postponed.
“Just imagine picking the whole thing up and moving it two weeks,” GHSA executive director Robin Hines said of the schedule. “So, I guess that would mean it would be the 21st and 29th [of August] for scrimmages.”
Mandatory practices will remain on schedule. Football can begin practicing without pads July 27. Full practices, in football and other fall sports, begin Aug. 1.
The move to postpone the football season was not only in response to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Georgia; however, it was also intended to provide teams with more time to prepare. According to Hines, some schools feel unready to compete by mid-August because they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
“Everybody is doing the same thing; no one team has an advantage over another,” Clark said. “But, because this summer has been far from normal, having two extra weeks will allow us to knock out some things that we usually would have already done by now.”
Cole Parker is a sophomore at Grady and this is his first year writing for The Southerner. Outside of the newspaper, Parker enjoys spending his time either debating for the Grady Jesters or playing ultimate frisbee.