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High School Football Coaches Face CIF Schedule Change

High School football coaches around Southern California are adapting to a virtual new normal as the CIF, the governing body of high school sports, has pushed the start of the season from August to January.

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Officials from the CIF, the governing body of high school sports, are pushing back the start of the high school sports season to December because of the coronavirus.

High school coaches from around Southern California are breathing a sigh of relief because there's hope.

"Well I think we all saw it coming," Long Beach Wilson head coach Mark Ziegenhagen said.

Added Mater Dei head coach Bruce Rollinson: "I'm just happy somebody made a decision."

But questions remain.

"If we do get started and let's just say somebody is exposed to it, what are they going to do?" Ziegenhagen said. "Quarantine the football team for two weeks and then what, we’ve got to forfeit two games for two weeks?”

If LA County public health departments approve the season, practices will begin Dec. 14 and games Jan. 8.

"There's a lot of things that need to be worked out," Fairfax Athletic Director and CIF LA City Section Football Coordinator Shane Cox said.

While CIF officials get to work on hammering out details of a safe return to play, coaches such as Rancho Verde's Pete Duffy will try to adapt to this virtual new normal for high school football.

"Now that we have a date set up, we’ll step up Zoom meetings," he said. "Basically position meetings and communication with the coaches and players."

The three coaches are trying to remain upbeat as coronavirus cases spike in Southern California. Rollinson's calling 2020 the year of the asterisks and is optimistic that the delayed football season will happen.

"I have to prepare probably about my sixth calendar but we’re going to play football," he said.

Ziegenhagen is preparing for either outcome.

"I'm a parent to my own kids and to 100 more kids in the [football] program," he said. "[We're] informing the kids and doing what we can to keep a little light in the tunnel."

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