High school football players begin contact drills

Coaches, players happy to be back on the field as contact drills for high school players resume

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Thursday, Sept. 10 was a big day for high school football. Teams are finally allowed to do contact drills at practice.

While it’s certainly not exactly fall football weather just yet, football is finally back. One team that started its contact drills Thursday was Catholic High School.

“And so to get the green light for some contact, it really feels good and it gives a little purpose to our practice now,” said Gabe Fertitta, Head Coach of the Catholic High School Bears.

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the LHSAA executive committee decided contact drills for high school teams could begin immediately. They also voted to start the high school football season a week earlier, on Oct. 1.

Some coaches happy about delay in contact

“We’re just happy to get back in pads. Because you know, over the summer we were held in the dark, about when the season would start, because we didn’t even know if we were going to have a season,” said Reginald King, a senior Scotlandville wide receiver.

King says since this is his last ride, he’s got to make the best out of it and mentor the young players on the team.

“I got to nurture these young kids so they can carry on the legacy of what we’re trying to build in Scotlandville, so they can see what I built with my teammates,” said King.

And the coaches are just as excited to see all their players especially those seniors actually get to play a football season.

“Obviously, everybody plays the game of football to try and win the ultimate goal of a championship. But at the end of the day, it’s just about these kids and this experience, and hopefully, we can help make them be better young men for the future,” said Scotlandville Magnet High head football coach Lester Ricard.

Head coach for the Catholic High Bears, Gabe Fertitta, is excited for his players and especially the seniors. The coach says they’re making sure to space players out when they can, and if student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19, they are being made to quarantine. They’re also implementing contact tracing to make sure those who were in close proximity to whoever tested positive can also isolate.

“So we’ll have to go back and contract trace. The CDC guidelines say that 15 minutes, within 6 feet is close contact. So we’ll have to go back and look to see who they are in close contact with. And we film everything out here, so we’ll go back and look at the film,” said Fertitta.

Teams will be allowed to play scrimmages at the end of September.

But everyone is just happy to get back on the field, and the seniors have earned it.

“As much as those football players do, band deserves to have their senior year, cheerleaders deserve their senior year, color guard, NJROTC. Those kids across the board deserve their senior years,” said Ricard.

"We’re just happy to get out here and do what we love,' said King.

State officials really think the issue will be in the stands. Bonine said attendance at LHSAA events will continue to evolve based on changing COVID-19 guidelines on gathering in groups, which comes from the state, but as of now, the plan is to allow 50% capacity.

Select schools have rejoined the non-select schools for this season and will participate in the Prep Classic but the divisions/classes remain separate. The decision was made to play all of the championship games at one venue.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has said that he’s okay with the sport moving forward as long as the LHSAA believes it is safe to do so.

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