Middle Georgia high schools set own football schedules amid COVID-19 concerns

There+are+only+about+900+fans+allowed+in+capacity+at+the+Ed+Defore+Sports+Complex+%28pictured%29.

Image: Keith Holmes Jr.

There are only about 900 fans allowed in capacity at the Ed Defore Sports Complex (pictured).

Despite rising COVID-19 cases in the state of Georgia, the Georgia High School Association is allowing the fall football season to begin in September. 

According to the GHSA website, high schools were allowed to begin play by Sept. 4 and were already allowed to practice in pads as of Aug. 1. 

Despite these dates, many high schools have delayed their season until October, if not later. 

“The football schedule is a ‘work in progress’ this season, and probably will remain so throughout the rest of the fall,” said Steve Figueroa, director of media relations with GHSA.

Figueroa said that the schedule listed on the GHSA website and the ones that individual schools plan on playing all differ and that schools and school systems are making decisions almost daily that affect the schedule in some way. 

“We make the changes to the online schedule as soon as we learn of those decisions, but we are at the mercy of the schools who are changing their schedules as those decisions are made,” Figueroa said. 

None of the six Bibb County high schools with official athletics programs under GHSA began playing official games until Sept. 18, according to the Bibb County Athletics website

Bibb County Athletics states, however, that their own schedule is subject to change and they already cancelled what would have been the first and second week of football. 

Even though the GHSA has their own game day operations, Bibb County has created their own set of rules. 

These rules include articles such as, “Both teams will present proof that a symptom and temperature check was done on each student and coach prior to arriving at game site,” and many more. 

With these rules in place, eight teams played Sept. 18 to begin high school football in Bibb County on the public school level. 

Private schools such as First Presbyterian Day School and Academy for Classical Education had already begun play. 

First Presbyterian defeated Ace 37-14 during a game Sept. 4, and both schools have other games this weekend. 

The Westside Seminoles lost to the Central Charges 12 to 7. The game ended on a pass attempt by Seminoles quarterback Ja’lon Miller which was broken up in the endzone. 

The Rutland Hurricanes lost to the Luella Lions 21-6. The Lions only allowed the Hurricanes to score in the second quarter while they scored a touch-down each quarter until the fourth. 

The Therrell Panthers lost to the Northeast Raiders 34-20. The game looked like a blowout toward the end, but the Panthers actually led 13-12 going into the fourth quarter before giving up 22 points and only scoring seven. 

The Howard Huskies lost to the Northside Eagles 28-7. The Eagles scored twice through the air and twice on the ground in order to rout the Huskies who only managed to score in the second quarter. 

High School football will continue in Bibb County with preventative measures in place to try and keep players, staff and coaches safe.