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Football season still on track

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Let’s play football.

Following a meeting with the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, the Georgia High School Association reiterated on Wednesday that the football season will begin on Sept. 4.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the GHSA said it “will be moving forward with the September 4 date for opening football season as directed by the Board of Trustees.”

The regular season was supposed to begin on Aug. 21, but the GHSA decided to move the start date back two weeks while also canceling the two preseason games.

Last week, the GHSA issued a statement that the season was on track to start on Sept. 4, but it emphasized that things “could change based on COVID-19 date.”

One week later, the GHSA seemed to state definitively that the games would be played on Sept. 4, which is good news for the hundreds of teams across the state that have been working since June 8.

In an interview with the Athens Banner-Herald, GHSA executive Robin Hines said he is encouraged about the direction things are heading.

“There’s a lot of date that gets tossed around, and while the numbers aren’t what we would prefer that they would be right now, they’re trending down,” Hines said. “We feel good about that, and pending some spike between now and then my recommendation is going to be that we go ahead and play.”

Earlier this week, the GHSA issued a list of guidelines for schools across the state to follow on game day.

Most notably, the GHSA “strongly recommended” that fans attending games where masks and have their temperatures taken before entering the stadium.

“What we’ve done as an association is what we can do as far as guidance for school systems and districts so that they can mitigate the risks,” Hines told the Athens newspaper. “There are some school systems that have really not been impacted with (coronavirus cases).”

Hines did caution that even if the season begins, the work isn’t done.

“I’m sure there’ll be bumps in the road once we get playing, also,” Hines said. “We’re going to be dealing with this for a long time.”

LaGrange and Troup are scheduled to open their seasons on Sept. 4, while Callaway opens on Sept. 11.