It’s finally happening. La Cañada High School football is back this Friday with the Spartans hosting South Pasadena in a Rio Hondo League game at 7 p.m.
“It’s so exciting,” said Carrie Saks, who added it has been a “crazy first year” as LCHS athletic director.
Administrators have protocols in place to make sure they are adhering to Los Angeles County health guidelines and providing a safe environment for students, coaches and fans.
The game will not be open to the public. Players are allowed to have up to four family members from their household attend the season opener, and the visiting team’s players can have up to two members. Each cohort of fans in attendance must be socially distanced from other groups and wear face coverings at all times.
While other schools have grappled with the decision to have cheerleaders at games, La Cañada High found a way to include them this Friday. Public health officials do not allow cheerleaders to be on the sidelines and LCHS will comply with the order. However, cheer competitions are permitted, so La Cañada will have an intra-squad cheer competition at halftime. The participants cannot be on the sidelines during the game but can support the football team from the stands.
“We’re following the California and Los Angeles County youth sports reopening protocols,” Principal Jim Cartnal said of the school’s plans for this Friday. He added that the safety of students, staff and fans is a priority.
All players and personnel on the field will be subject to a temperature check before the game.
Cartnal laments not being able to accommodate more fans and having students in the stands cheering for their friends.
“It’s very difficult because of how much football means to our school here, and how much it has been missed and how much it means to our students,” he said.
The California Department of Public Health recently updated its youth sports guidelines to allow indoor sports such as basketball and wrestling to begin competition as long as the school has testing available for students and coaches.
L.A. County has yet to adopt the state’s update, but school officials are confident it will happen soon.
“We are ready to go,” Saks said. “We have scoured every Home Depot in the area to buy every door stop we can find because we would have to keep the doors open, and we also need to have testing in place. We are so ready. Our boys and girls are on the outdoor [basketball] courts and trying to be as patient as possible.”
Neighboring St. Francis High School was originally scheduled to play its first home football game of the season against La Verne Damien this Friday but it was moved to be played at the Damien’s home field.