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NFHS names 23 high school Coaches of the Year for 2020 - OFFICIAL
NFHS names 23 high school Coaches of the Year for 2020
Michael Bowler, Mary Beth Bourgoin and Anne Ellett were three of 23 high school coaches honored Monday for their excellence by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

Bowler, a lacrosse coach at Rocky Point (N.Y.), was selected in the "other" category for boys sports, and Bourgoin, a field hockey coach at Winslow (Maine), was chosen in the "other" category for girls sports.

Ellett of Centennial (Gresham, Ore.) was the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit. She's been the school's dance coach since 1966 and is one of the longest-tenured coaches in any sport in state history.

The 2020 National Coaches of the Year awards recognize current leaders who coached in the the 2019-20 school year. The NFHS has recognized coaches through an awards program since 1982 and honors the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers) in addition to three others.

Recipients of this year's national awards for boys sports are:

Ron Murphy, baseball, Rio Rancho (N.M.)
Jerry Petitgoue, basketball, Cuba City (Wis.)
Kevin Ryan, cross country, Bellingham (Wash.)
Gerry Pannoni, football, South County (Lorton, Va.)
Steve Kanner, golf, Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.)
David Halligan, soccer, Falmouth (Maine)
Douglas Krecklow, swimming and diving, Omaha Westside (Omaha, Neb.)
Robert Palazzo, track and field, Classical (Providence, R.I.)
Douglas Hislop, wrestling, Imbler (Ore.)
Ron Murphy, Rio Rancho baseball
File photo by Jim Smith
Ron Murphy, Rio Rancho baseball
The recipients of the 2020 NFHS national awards for girls sports are:

Michael Rose, swimming and diving, Brookfield East (Brookfield, Wis.)
Willie Smith, track and field, Beachwood (Ohio)
Kevin Bordewick, volleyball, Washburn Rural (Topeka, Kan.)
Donna Moir, basketball, Sacred Heart (Louisville, Ky.)
William Clifton, cross country, Middletown South (Middletown, N.J.)
Tim Carey, lacrosse, Hoover (Fresno, Calif.)
Stephen Estelle, soccer, Gateway Regional (Huntington, Mass.)
Mary Truesdale, softball, Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.)

The NFHS has a contact in each state responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients.

This person often works with the state coaches' association in his or her respective state. He or she contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach's record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy.

To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.

The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category.

A total of 707 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.
OFFICIAL/AVCA Player of the Week - OFFICIAL
MaxPreps/AVCA Player of the Week
MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week
For the week of Feb. 15-21

Virginia

6'1" | Junior | OH/MH
9 Sets Played

Kills: 37
Kills/Game: 4.11
Digs: 22
Digs/Game: 2.44
Receptions: 27
Rcpt/Game: 3
Aces: 5
Blocks: 3

Washington
6'0" | Senior | MH/OH
8 Sets Played
Kills: 54
Kills/Game: 6.75
Digs: 37
Digs/Game: 4.63
Receptions: 17
Rcpt/Game: 2.13
Aces: 7
Blocks: 2

About the MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program:
The MaxPreps/AVCA High School Player of the Week Program is a partnership between the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and CBS MaxPreps, Inc. Each week MaxPreps and the AVCA recognize deserving student-athletes at the high school level who have demonstrated outstanding play on the court throughout the week of competition. Coaches must submit statistics to MaxPreps in order for their athletes to be considered for the program. To obtain your free access code to MaxPreps.com call (800) 329-7324 x1 or email [email protected] For more information on the AVCA, check out the AVCA website at www.avca.org
MLB Draft: Top 10 high school pitching prospects - OFFICIAL
MLB Draft: Top 10 high school pitching prospects
Video: 10 Extreme high schools via Google Earth
See these campuses that run north to south and east to west.

With only five rounds in the Major League Baseball Draft this year, much fewer high school players are expected to be chosen in the early rounds compared to previous season, especially pitchers.

That being said, more high school pitchers will be chosen in this year's draft than any other position, with the bulk of those players being right-handed pitchers.

With only two days to go before the 2020 MLB Draft, here's a look at our final installment — pitchers. Previously, we've looked at corner infielders, middle infielders, outfielders and catchers.
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Nick Bitsko, Central Bucks East (Doylestown, Pa.)
Scouts don't know a whole lot about Bitsko since he reclassified from the Class of 2021 and he didn't take the field during the 2020 spring. Thus he only played two seasons of high school baseball. Nevertheless, scouts don't need to know much when a pitcher is hitting 96 mph on his fastball. Bitsko, at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, also has the size to add more speed. He also has a solid enough curve and change to be considered the top right-handed prep prospect in the draft. Projection: Top 15 picks.

Jared Kelley, Refugio (Texas)
If not for Bitsko, Kelley would be the top prospect. The National Gatorade Player of the Year, Kelley did not allow a hit in three appearances, including a complete-game no-hitter. Kelley's fastball has hit 99 mph this spring and he also has a change that's considered a plus second pitch. Projection: Top 20 picks.

Mick Abel, Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)
Abel has a 94 mph fastball, but the slider is his premium pitch, which Baseball America ranks as the best in the 2020 draft. The Gatorade State Player of the Year in Oregon had an 18-3 career record with 213 career strikeouts. Projection: End of first round.

Jared Jones, La Mirada (Calif.)
Jones has command of an assortment of pitches and is also a possible everyday player based on his ability on offense. Jones is a possible second-round selection, but his signability is in question, considering he has committed to play at Texas — one of the top baseball programs in the nation. Projection: Second round.

Carson Montgomery, Windermere (Fla.)
Another pitcher who has a mid-90s fastball to go along with a plus change. Montgomery also has a curve in his repertoire making him a solid three-pitch candidate. Projection: Second round.

Justin Lange, Llano (Texas)
Lange is a new name among the top pitching prospects thanks to a spring season in which his fastball hit 99 mph. That type of velocity would normally make Lange a first-round prospect, but with a shortened spring, scouts appear willing to wait until the second round. Projection: Second round.

Nolan McLean, Garner Magnet (Garner, N.C.)
McLean is a two-way prospect after belting nine home runs and batting .373 as a junior to go along with 53 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. A two-sport athlete, McLean also had 6,809 yards passing as a quarterback. McLean can hit 94 mph on his fastball. Projection: Third round.

Cam Brown, Flower Mound (Texas)
Brown had a very strong summer last year, which pushed him up the ranks of the top pitching prospects in the country. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and he has good command of a curve ball and change-up, however he is likely a third- or fourth-round selection. Projection: Third round.

Alex Santos, Mt. St. Michael Academy (Bronx, N.Y.)
Santos hits about 93 mph on his fastball, but scouts project Santos to add speed to the pitch as he adds strength at the next level. He also has a solid change-up and curve and appears to have plenty of potential. Projection: Fourth round.

Dax Fulton, Mustang (Okla.)
The only left-hander on the list, Fulton has a 96 mph fastball and he is one of the few lefties expected to be drafted during the five-round selection process. Fulton is ranked as a first-round prospect by some mock drafts, but he more than likely falls toward the end. Projection: Fifth round.
2020-21 high school volleyball state champions - OFFICIAL
2020-21 high school volleyball state champions
MaxPreps is your home for high school girls volleyball state playoff coverage.

The 2020-21 school year has been unprecedented with many states forging ahead with competition while others have remained on the sideline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MaxPreps has covered volleyball from the preseason and will stay with it through the final tournament sometime next spring. Check back as we update the champions as their seasons progress.

Here is a list of the state champions in each division from across America. Click here to find tournaments in your state.
Fayetteville celebrates its Arkansas 6A title.
Photo by Justin Miller
Fayetteville celebrates its Arkansas 6A title.
Girls volleyball state champions

Alabama

7A — Hoover def. Spain Park (Hoover), 3-0
6A — Mountain Brook (Birmingham) def. Hartselle, 3-0
5A — Bayside Academy (Daphne) def. West Point (Cullman), 3-0
4A — Montgomery Academy (Montgomery) def. Curry (Jasper), 3-1
3A — Trinity Presbyterian (Montgomery) def. Plainview (Rainsville), 3-0
2A — Addison def. Long (Skipperville), 3-1
1A — Bayshore Christian (Fairhope) def. Donoho (Anniston,), 3-1
AISA A — Abbeville Christian Academy (Abbeville) def. Jackson Academy (Jackson), 3-1
AISA AA — Edgewood Academy (Elmore) def. Chambers Academy (LaFayette), 3-0

Alaska
No playoffs

Arizona
6A — Hamilton (Chandler) def. Perry (Gilbert), 3-1
5A — Millennium (Goodyear) def. Cactus Shadows (Cave Creek), 3-0
4A — Salpointe Catholic (Tucson) def. Notre Dame Prep (Scottsdale), 3-2
3A — Northwest Christian (Phoenix) def. Valley Christian (Chandler), 3-0
2A — Scottsdale Christian Academy (Phoenix) def. Chandler Prep (Chandler), 3-0
1A — St. David def. Anthem Prep (Anthem), 3-1
CAA I —

Arkansas
6A — Fayetteville def. Southside (Fort Smith), 3-1
5A — Greenwood def. Jonesboro, 3-0
4A — Valley View (Jonesboro) def. Brookland, 3-0
3A — Hackett def. Paris, 3-0
2A — Mansfield def. Lavaca, 3-0

California
Winter season

Colorado
5A —
4A —
3A —
2A —
1A —

Connecticut
LL —
L —
M —
S —

Delaware
I — St. Mark's (Wilmington) def. Padua Academy (Wilmington), 3-0

District of Columbia
DCSAA —

Florida

7A — Lyman (Longwood) def. Lake Nona (Orlando), 3-2
6A — Mater Academy Charter (Hialeah Gardens) def. Leon (Tallahassee), 3-1
5A — Ponte Vedra def. Jensen Beach, 3-0
4A — Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) def. Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale), 3-1
3A — Trinity Catholic (Ocala) def. Westminster Christian (Miami), 3-0
2A — Lake Worth Christian (Boynton Beach) def. St. John Paul II (Tallahassee), 3-0
1A — Sneads def. Newberry, 3-0

Georgia
AAAAAAA — Alpharetta def. Walton (Marietta), 3-1
AAAAAA — Buford def. Pope (Marietta), 3-1
AAAAA — McIntosh (Peachtree City) def. Blessed Trinity (Roswell), 3-1
AAAA — Marist (Atlanta) def. Northwest Whitfield (Tunnel Hill), 3-0
AAA — Westminster (Atlanta) def. Morgan County (Madison), 3-0
AA-A Public — Pace Academy (Atlanta) def. Gordon Lee (Chickamauga), 3-2
AA-A Private — Holy Innocents Episcopal (Atlanta) def. Hebron Christian Academy (Dacula), 3-1
GISA AA — Oak Mountain Academy (Carrollton) def. Augusta Prep Day (Augusta), 3-1
GISA AAA — Valwood (Valdosta) def. Dominion Christian (Marietta), 3-1
GAPPS Div. I-AA — Peachtree Academy (Covington) def. Calvary Christian (Columbus)
GAPPS Div. II — Fideles Christian (Cumming) def. Konos Academy (Fayetteville)
GAPPS Div. I-A — Habersham Central (Mt. Airy) def. Oakwood Christian (Chickamauga)


Hawaii
Winter season

Idaho
5A — Skyview (Nampa) def. Boise, 3-2
4A — Lakeland (Rathdrum) def. Middleton, 3-0
3A — Sugar-Salem (Sugar City) def. Kimberly, 3-0
2A — West Side (Dayton) def. Bear Lake (Montpelier), 3-2
1A Division I — Grace def. Genesee, 3-0
1A Division II — Tri-Valley (Cambridge) def. Castleford, 3-1

Illinois
Winter season

Indiana
4A — Yorktown def. Munster, 3-1
3A — Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne) def. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory (Indianapolis), 3-2
2A — Barr-Reeve (Montgomery) def. Wapahani (Selma), 3-0
1A — Pioneer (Royal Center) def. Loogootee, 3-1

Iowa
5A — Ankeny def. Iowa City, 3-1
4A — Xavier (Cedar Rapids) def. West Delaware (Manchester), 3-0
3A — Osage def. Mt. Vernon, 3-0
2A — Dike-New Hartford (Dike) def. Denver, 3-0
1A — Notre Dame (Burlington) def. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (Reinbeck), 3-1

Kansas
6A — Blue Valley West (Stilwell) def. Olathe Northwest (Olathe), 2-1
5A — Aquinas (Overland Park) def. Lansing, 2-1
4A — Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission) def. Andale, 2-0
3A — Sabetha def. Smoky Valley (Lindsborg), 2-1
2A — Heritage Christian Academy (Olathe) def. Smith Center, 2-0
1A D1 — Central Plains (Claflin) def. Lebo, 2-0
1A D2 — Hanover def. Attica, 2-0

Kentucky

State — Notre Dame Academy (Park Hills) def. Mercy (Louisville), 3-2

Louisiana
I — St. Mary's Dominican (New Orleans) def. St. Joseph's Academy (Baton Rouge), 3-1
II — Teurlings Catholic (Lafayette) def. St. Thomas More (Lafayette), 3-1
III — Archbishop Hannan (Covington) def. Cabrini (New Orleans), 3-0
IV — Academy of the Sacred Heart (New Orleans) def. Pope John Paul II (Slidell), 3-1
V — Metairie Park Country Day (Metairie) def. McGehee (New Orleans), 3-0

Maine
Winter season

Maryland
4A —
3A —
2A —
1A —
IAAM A —
IAAM B —
IAAM C —

Massachusetts
1 —
2 —
3 —

Michigan
1 — Marian (Bloomfield Hills) def. Lowell, 3-0
2 — Christian (Grand Rapids) def. Lakewood (Lake Odessa), 3-0
3 — St. Mary Catholic Central (Monroe) def. Schoolcraft, 3-0
4 — St. Philip Catholic Central (Battle Creek) def. Oakland Christian (Auburn Hills), 3-2

Minnesota
No state tournament

Mississippi
6A — DeSoto Central (Southaven) def. Brandon, 3-1
5A — Lake Cormorant (Lake Cormorant) def. Long Beach, 3-2
4A — Vancleave def. Pontotoc, 3-0
3A — St. Andrew's Episcopal (Ridgeland) def. Belmont, 3-0
2A — Walnut def. Puckett, 3-2
1A — Resurrection Catholic (Pascagoula) def. Hickory Flat, 3-0
MAIS — Jackson Academy (Jackson) def. Hartfield Academy (Flowood), 3-1

Missouri
Class 5 — Liberty North (Liberty) def. Nixa, 3-0
Class 4 — Willard def. Parkway West (Ballwin, 3-1
Class 3 — Maryville def. Central (Park Hills), 3-0
Class 2 — Christian (Springfield) def. Valle Catholic (Ste. Genevieve), 3-2
Class 1 — Advance def. Lesterville, 3-1

Montana
AA — Capital (Helena) def. Russell (Great Falls), 3-2
A — Billings Central Catholic (Billings) def. Hardin, 3-0
B — Joliet def. Huntley Project (Worden), 3-0
C — Bridger def. Manhattan Christian (Manhattan), 3-1

Nebraska
A — Elkhorn South (Omaha) def. Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion), 3-0
B — Skutt Catholic (Omaha) def. Norris (Firth), 3-1
C1 — Wahoo def. St. Paul, 3-2
C2 — Lutheran-Northeast (Norfolk) def. Norfolk Catholic (Norfolk), 3-2
D1 — Pleasanton def. Archbishop Bergan (Fremont), 3-0
D2 — Diller-Odell (Odell) def. Chambers/Wheeler Central (Chambers), 3-2

Nevada
Winter season

New Hampshire
I — Bedford def. Hollis-Brookline (Hollis), 3-0
II — Gilford def. Stark (Weare), 3-0
III — Newfound Regional (Bristol) def. Trinity (Manchester), 3-0

New Jersey
Winter season

New Mexico
Winter season

New York
Winter season

North Carolina
4A —
3A —
2A —
1A —
NCCSA 2A — Union Grove Christian (Lexington) def. Wilson Christian Academy (Wilson), 3-2
NCCSA 1A — Fayetteville Street Christian (Asheboro) def. Oak Level Baptist Academy (Stokesdale), 3-1
NCISSA 1A — Lee Christian (Sanford) def. Kerr-Vance Academy (Henderson), 3-0
NCISSA 2A — Caldwell Academy (Greensboro) def. Gaston Day (Gastonia), 3-0
NCISSA 3A — Asheville Christian Academy (Swannanoa) def. Cary Christian (Cary), 3-2
NCISSA 4A — North Raleigh Christian Academy (Raleigh) def. Cannon (Concord), 3-0

North Dakota
A — Century (Bismarck) def. West Fargo, 3-1
B — Linton/Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock (Linton) def. Langdon/Edmore/Munich (Langdon), 3-0

Ohio
I — Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati) def. Padua Franciscan (Parma), 3-1
II — Gilmour Academy (Gates Mills) def. Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (Chardon), 3-2
III — Huron def. Independence, 3-2
IV — Calvert (Tiffin) def New Bremen, 3-1

Oklahoma
6A — Bishop Kelley (Tulsa) def. Mustang, 3-2
5A — Victory Christian (Tulsa) def. Mount St. Mary (Oklahoma City), 3-0
4A — Lincoln Christian (Tulsa) def. Christian Heritage (Del City), 3-1
3A — Community Christian (Norman) def. Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City), 3-2

Oregon
6A —
5A —
4A —
3A —
2A —
1A —

Pennsylvania
AAAA — North Allegheny (Wexford) def. Unionville (Kennett Square), 3-0
AAA — Bethlehem Catholic (Bethlehem) def. Franklin Regional (Murrysville), 3-0
AA — Trinity (Camp Hill) def. Philipsburg-Osceola (Philipsburg), 3-1
A — Clarion Area (Clarion) def. Marian Catholic (Tamaqua), 3-0

Rhode Island
Winter season

South Carolina
AAAAA — Wando (Mt. Pleasant) def. T.L. Hanna (Anderson), 3-2
AAAA — Hilton Head (Hilton Head Island) def. Pickens, 3-1
AAA — Powdersville (Greenville) def. Oceanside Collegiate Academy (Mt. Pleasant), 3-0
AA — Chesnee def. Andrew Jackson (Kershaw), 3-0
A — Southside Christian (Simpsonville) def. Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg, S.C.), 3-0
SCISA AAA — Cardinal Newman (Columbia) def. Porter-Gaud (Charleston), 3-2
SCISA AA — Spartanburg Christian Academy (Spartanburg) def. Northside Christian Academy (Lexington), 3-0
SCISA A — Newberry Academy (Newberry) def. Patrick Henry Academy (Estill), 3-1

South Dakota
AA — O'Gorman (Sioux Falls) def. Huron, 3-1
A — Sioux Falls Christian (Sioux Falls) def. Dakota Valley (North Sioux City), 3-0
B — Northwestern Area (Mellette) def. Warner, 3-1

Tennessee
3A — Brentwood def. Siegel (Murfreesboro), 3-0
2A — Nolensville def. Anderson County (Clinton), 3-1
1A — Summertown def. Loretto, 3-0
II-AA — Briarcrest Christian (Eads) def. Baylor (Chattanooga), 3-0
II-A — Goodpasture Christian def. Notre Dame (Chattanooga), 3-1

Texas
6A — Seven Lakes (Katy) def. Klein, 3-1
5A — Lovejoy (Lucas) def. Fulshear, 3-0
4A — Decatur def. Wimberley, 3-0
3A — Bushland def. Goliad, 3-0
2A — Iola def. Crawford, 3-1
1A — Neches def. Blum, 3-0
Southwest Prep —
TAPPS 1A — Christ Academy (Wichita Falls) def. Atonement Academy (San Antonio), 3-0
TAPPS 2A — Ovilla Christian (Red Oak) def. Bracken Christian (Bulverde), 3-0
TAPPS 3A — New Braunfels Christian Academy (New Braunfels) def. Midland Classical Academy (Midland), 3-0
TAPPS 4A — Northland Christian (Houston) def. Lake Country Christian (Fort Worth), 3-1
TAPPS 5A — St. Joseph (Victoria) def. Prince of Peace (Carrollton), 3-0
TAPPS 6A — Liberty Christian (Argyle) def. St. Agnes Academy (Houston), 3-2
TCAL 2A — Poetry Community Christian (Poetry) def. Lighthouse HomeSchool (Port Arthur), 3-0
TCAL 1A — Annapolis Christian Academy (Corpus Christi) def. Salem Sayers Baptist Academy (Adkins), 3-0
TCAF II — Victory Christian Academy (Decatur) def. Victory Baptist Academy (Weatherford)
TCAF I — Westlake Academy (Westlake) def. Christian Life Preparatory (Fort Worth), 3-0

Utah
6A — Lone Peak (Highland) def. Copper Hills (West Jordan), 3-1
5A — Timpview (Provo) def. Mountain View (Orem), 3-2
4A — Sky View (Smithfield) def. Snow Canyon (St. George), 3-1
3A — Union (Roosevelt) def. Morgan, 3-1
2A — North Summit (Coalville) def. Millard (Fillmore), 3-0
1A — Valley (Orderville) def. Rich (Randolph), 3-1

Vermont
Winter season

Virginia
6A —
5A —
4A —
3A —
2A —
1A —
VISAA 1 —
VISAA 2 —
VISAA 3 —

Washington
Winter season

West Virginia
AAA — Musselman (Inwood) def. George Washington (Charleston), 3-2
AA — Shady Spring def. Philip Barbour (Philippi), 3-0
A — Wirt County (Elizabeth) def. East Hardy (Baker), 3-0

Wisconsin
1 — Hamilton (Sussex) def. Burlington, 3-1
2 — Luxemburg-Casco (Luxemburg) def. Lakeside Lutheran (Lake Mills), 3-0
3 — Howards Grove def. Waterloo, 3-1
4 — Catholic Central (Burlington) def. McDonell Central (Chippewa Falls), 3-0

Wyoming
4A — Laramie def. Kelly Walsh (Casper), 3-1
3A — Mountain View def. Worland, 3-0
2A — Sundance def. Riverside (Basin), 3-0
1A — Cokeville def. Meeteetse, 3-1

High school sports: California's new guidance allows football, other outdoor sports to begin play - OFFICIAL
High school sports: California's new guidance allows football, other outdoor sports to begin play
After weeks of discussions with the California Interscholastic Federation along with coaches and parent advocacy groups, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday morning updated the state's stance on youth and high school sports.

The news was almost entirely positive. 

Football, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball and lacrosse will be allowed to resume play Feb. 26, but with restrictions. The California Department of Public Health issued an updated guidance that permits competition for outdoor youth sports as long as county case rates remain below 14/100,00 and safety precautions are implemented. The CDPH reports 27 counties of the state's 58 meet that requirement. 

However many of the larger-populated counties, mostly in Southern California, don't yet meet the requirement, including Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego. Others in Central and Northern California that are above 14/100,000 are Sacramento, Contra Costa, Shasta and Fresno. (See all current rates below per the California Health and Human Services).

Clearly, though, meeting this standard is easier to beat than the state's current tier system for youth sports. Also rates are dropping rapidly in all parts of the state.

The ability to begin starting Feb. 26 means football will now have a realistic chance of getting in at least five game seasons or more. Coaches are looking to play a 5-7 game schedule. The CIF, the state's high school sports governing body, has said football teams can play until May 1. Many of the state's 10 sections have set earlier dates.

“Youth sports are important to our children’s physical and mental health, and our public health approach has worked to balance those benefits against COVID-19 risks,” said Dr. Tomas Aragon, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "With case rates and hospitalizations declining across California, we are allowing outdoor competition to resume, with modifications and steps to reduce risk, in counties where case rates are lower.”

That's good and promising news to many, but it comes with some caveats.

• Indoor sports are not included in the guidance. Basketball, volleyball and wrestling will need for the rates to go down significantly but there is still time, perhaps in the final two months of school. 

• Weekly testing will be mandatory. The state will pay for the tests, Newsom said during the press conference.

Serra (San Mateo, Calif.) football coach Patrick Walsh, who launched the now 900-member Golden State High School Football Coaches Community in December, warned earlier this week that all sports and regions likely wouldn't be opened up, and that hard work is ahead.

But he saw Friday's announcement as a clear victory. His group, that includes Torrey Pines (San Diego) coach Ron Gladnick and De La Salle (Concord) coach Justin Alumbaugh, combined with the 60,000-member Facebook organization Let Them Play CA, and the CIF have organized quickly to put pressure on the state to open things up.

"We were a pain in their neck," Walsh said. "But we pushed hard and organized all in the name of kids."

This is clearly their biggest breakthrough, especially for football, the state's largest sport that boasts about 90,000 student athletes. A season looked doomed after several delays and state officials sticking to the state's tiered system.

"A lot of people told us we couldn't get this done," Walsh said. "Moving a mountain can't be done. You can't go against mother nature. But with human nature anything is possible. With human beings, anything is possible. A lot of human beings have done a lot of amazing work to get to this point. More work needs to be done. But today is a good day."
Action from the last day football was played in California, Dec. 14, 2019, when Corona del Mar defeated Serra 35-27 in the CIF D1-A title game.
File photo by Heston Quan
Action from the last day football was played in California, Dec. 14, 2019, when Corona del Mar defeated Serra 35-27 in the CIF D1-A title game.
Walsh, Alumbaugh and Gladnick thanked Newsom and executive staff member Jim DeBoo and Dr. Mark Ghaly extensively for listening to the organization's reason and data concerning getting youth and high school sports back safely.

"This was a great lesson for kids," Gladnick said. "There are no guarantees in life and when odds are against you, you have to try. Many parents and coaches and volunteers tried on the behalf of kids. We moved government. It would have just as easy for Mr. Newsom and Deboo and their staff not to listen, but they listened.

"This was three weeks of truly hard work. This wasn't about politics. It was about people."

Said Alumbaugh: "This is a joyous day. It's one of the first days in a long, long time that millions of kids can smile and look forward to something. Something that is in front of them, that is tangible and real as a group. That's a wonderful thing."

CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti agreed that Friday was one of the better ones over the last several months.

"Today was a huge step in the right direction in providing a clear pathway for our school communities to get student athletes out there," he said. "We still need to continue to advocate for a large number more to get them playing as well."

All acknowledged that a lot of work is in front of many.

Other guidelines from the state Public Health agency include:

• Outdoor high-contact sports can be played in counties in the purple and red tier, with a case rate at or below 14 per 100,000. Weekly testing is required for football, rugby and water polo participants age 13 and over in counties with case rate between 7 and 14 per 10,000.

• Weekly testing, either antigen or PCR, is required for all participants and coaches in these sports, with results made available within 24 hours of competition. Football, rugby and water polo are high-contact sports that are likely to be played unmasked, with close, face-to-face contact exceeding 15 minutes.

• Outdoor, moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played in these countries without the testing requirement.

• Due to the nature and risk of transmission while participating in these sports, teams must provide information regarding risk to all parents/guardians of minors participating, and each parent shall sign an inform consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgment of the risks.

• Any team playing in a less restrictive sports tier are strongly encouraged to follow the steps outlined in the guidance to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission. This includes wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and appropriate hand hygiene and equipment sanitation."

Some lower-contact outdoor sports have already started in the state, including cross country.

According to an e-mail sent from the California Health and Human Services Friday morning, here are the counties that currently meet under the 14/100,000 threshold: Sierra (0 percent), Plumas (3.8), Modoc (4.5), Mariposa (4.8), Trinity (6.4), Yolo (7.0), Del Norte (7.3), Humboldt (7.5), San Francisco (7.9), Marin (8.8), San Mateo (9.1), Santa Clara (10.1), Santa Cruz (10.4), Lassen (10.5), Calaveras (10.6), Napa (10.7), Nevada (10.9), Amador (11.1), Tuolumne (11.7), El Dorado (11.8), Imperial (11.9), Placer (12), Siskiyou (12), Butte (12.2), Alameda (12.4), San Luis Obispo (13.7) and Sonoma (13.9).

Those that are above include Shasta (14.4), Contra Costa (15.3), Solano (15.5), San Diego (15.6), Orange (16), Lake (16.5), Madera (16.9), Los Angeles (17.6), Glenn (18), Mono (18.4), Sutter (18.4), CA (18.4), Sacramento (18.7), San Bernardino (19), Yuba (19.3), Fresno (19.8) and Tehama (19.9).

California's announcement comes two days after Nevada re-opened many sports, but also with the caveat that Clark County, which includes most of the Las Vegas area, will not allow competition until in-person learning is in place. Currently it does not. More than 75 percent of the state's 3.08 million residents call that county home.

California is one of 12 states hoping to play football in the winter or spring. Washington was the first to hit the field last weekend.

Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia have seasons scheduled later this month, while five others now, including Nevada, along with Illinois, Oregon, Maryland and New Mexico plus Washington D.C. — plan to start games in March.

Two other states — New York and Rhode Island — are still either working on a start date or considering taking 2020-21 off from football. Other states that have already canceled football: Connecticut, Hawaii, and Maine.

At many points over the last two months, California seemed destined to cancel. That changed on Friday. It probably wouldn't have happened without the monumental efforts of the advocacy groups. 

"We're ecstatic," Walsh said. "This is a massive first step in this process. We've been overwhelmed with love and thanks and overall gratitude. We can feel the souls of millions of kids lifted up today."

Among them were his own players.

"To have a season now feels more empowering and exciting than ever before," said Serra senior Fynn Williams. In all six years of me playing football, I've never been more hopeful and passionate about what is to come next."

Christian Pedersen, Serra's four-star tight end, already has signed to Louisville. But he can't wait to suit up for a final time with his high school team.

"It just feels like I just had a crippling weight lifted off my shoulders," he said. "I now feel more motivated then I have as a person in the last year."

Said teammate, senior Sioeli Helu: "It feels like the world is starting to get back to normal and this is definitely a step in the right decision."