By JOSH AUBREY
The Georgia High School Association voted Monday to push back the start of high school football season to Sept. 4. During an afternoon meeting, the board, which governs high school sports in the state, voted unanimously that football conditioning would remain as scheduled, but the first games of the season would be moved to Sept. 4.
The GHSA went on to affirm that there would still be a 10-game regular season, followed by five rounds of playoff football. All other GHSA fall sports will remain as scheduled on the current GHSA calendar.
Statesboro High was scheduled to open the season on Aug. 22 in the Erk Russell Classic at Paulson Stadium against Wayne County. Southeast Bulloch was set to host Screven County on Aug. 21. Portal was scheduled to open the season on Aug. 28, playing host to Montgomery County.
While no announcement has come yet from the Georgia Independent School Association, Bulloch Academy is scheduled to play GHSA opponents Savannah Country Day and Calvary Day on Aug. 21 and Aug. 28.
All four schools currently are scheduled to end their regular seasons on Nov. 6.
Locally, area coaches were happy to hear that the season is still officially on, although there are still some questions left to be answered.
“Until we receive clarification directly from the GHSA, there are still too many questions as to how the season will play out,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “Will we have scrimmages? Will we keep open weeks? Are the state championships going to be played on Christmas day?”
“The GHSA ruling seems to follow what many other states are doing right now,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Barrett Davis. “The main thing is it looks like we are going to play football. We still need clarification as to if we have to make up the games during our bye weeks in order to have a full 10-game schedule, or we just lose the first two games and start September 4th.
“We are still waiting on the GHSA to contact us directly as to how we are going about things, but I still feel like this is good news,” Davis said. “It's good to have some things set, and the guidelines are in place. They didn’t put any additional restrictions on practice, so we are still planning on being able to go full pads August 1. The good thing is our kids are still going to have a season.”
“Hearing that they have officially moved things back two weeks, and nothing else seems to have changed is good news to me,” said Portal coach Matt Smith. “I expect we will get an email pretty soon from the GHSA explaining how this is going to work as far as playing an eight game schedule, or losing our bye weeks and playing 10-games.
“I think it’s a good idea right now, and I’m certainly happy they didn’t just cancel the season,” Smith said. “It still gives players and coaches hope of a season, and giving us a couple more weeks to get things in place seems like they are doing a good job of erring on the side of caution.”
No official word from the GHSA as to whether or not there will be bye weeks, or leave that up to schools and coaches as to how to handle that situation. It is doubtful they will play on Christmas Day, but there hasn’t been an official statement as to dates for playoffs as of Monday afternoon.