La. high school football coaches share their thoughts on the start to the season

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Updated: Sep. 4, 2020 at 6:25 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - High school football in Louisiana is still on schedule to return in October after many worried it might not actually happen.

Now, the 9Sports team is planning for a jamboree edition of Sportsline Friday Nite on October 2 and the season-opening show on October 9.

We caught up with some teams over the last few days that have been taking off Fridays waiting to find out if they’d actually see the benefit of their labor in nearly 100-degree heat indexes pay off with the chance to play.

RELATED: Bonine says, ‘It’s time to play football in Louisiana’

Class 5A East Ascension and Division I Ascension Catholic may be worlds apart when it comes to roster size and their non-select and select school status.

However, Benny Saia, the head coach at Ascension Catholic, and Darnell Lee, the head coach at East Ascension, both have been feeling heightened frustrations as the politicians and state leadership weighed in on safety concerns and legal liability long since tackled by surrounding states like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas.

“We’re all similar in the situation that we are in,” said Saia. “So, if Texas can play, if Mississippi can play, if Alabama can play, why can’t Louisiana play?”

“Our kids are seeing it and it’s hard to keep them going,” added Lee. “When they see it, ’Coach, if we are not playing and they are playing, then it is not looking good for us.’ All we can tell them is, ’All we can do is all we can do. Come out and prepare as if we are going to play.’”

So, the countdown begins. Next Wednesday appears to be the last hurdle with the executive committee expected to approve guidelines. LHSAA volleyball is set to begin on Monday.

There are some Louisiana teams that have already played or will play their season openers next Friday.

One of those teams is Oak Forest Academy in Amite, which was practicing Friday afternoon for next week’s season-opener with Silliman Institute in Clinton, which is another MAIS school.

The Yellowjackets and Wildcats have not played the first three weeks of the Mississippi Association’s schedule that also includes teams from Louisiana and Arkansas, even though others have.

Oak Forest probably could have traveled to Jackson, Miss. on September 4 to play Jackson Prep, which has already played two games, but opted instead to wait for a home-opener with one of its few remaining in-state rivals that’s also refrained from playing.

“The whole thing for us was, ’How can we protect our school?’” said Oak Forest head coach Drew Misita. “We felt it was best to go by what our government was telling us. Obey those guidelines that the Department of Education put out. I believe we did the right thing. I believe we got some news the last day or so, freed us up, to play tonight. We needed more days of full pads. From a legal standpoint and me, as a coaching standpoint, it’s not safe to go play a game with one day of full pads.”

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