Georgia high school football season delayed by 2 weeks, other fall sports to go on as scheduled

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Dalton High School head football coach Matt Land directs players during a preseason practice in 2019. The Georgia High School Association voted Monday to delay the start of the 2020 football season by two weeks.

The start of the high school football season in Georgia will be delayed by two weeks after a unanimous vote by the Georgia High School Association Board of Trustees on Monday.

Due to the ongoing outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), the GHSA board met Monday to discuss plans for fall sports.

The season, which was originally slated to begin Aug. 21, will be pushed back to a Sept. 4 start, with all 10 regular season contests and five playoff rounds still scheduled, according to the minutes of the meeting released by the GHSA.

No changes were made at the Monday meeting to schedules for other fall sports: cheerleading, flag football, softball, volleyball and cross country. Mandatory practices for all fall sports will be allowed starting July 27, while pads will be allowed for football practices starting Aug.1.

“I’m just thankful that we will have an opportunity to hopefully play a full season and the playoffs,” said Dalton High School head football coach Matt Land. “Anything that gets our young men and women the opportunity to compete in as full of a season as possible. I think the GHSA has done an outstanding job if that’s where we’re headed.”

The GHSA decision came just hours after California high school sports were delayed until at least December by the California Interscholastic Federation. North Carolina and South Carolina governing organizations announced last week that football seasons would be delayed into September.

According to the minutes from the GHSA meeting, a motion was made to keep all fall sports on schedule, but it was voted down 8-4.

Land said there will be scheduling hurdles for the GHSA and individual teams to overcome to make the delayed season work.

“I’ve got to see exactly what they end up with,” Land said. “Some teams could get their schedules messed up, because we don’t all have common bye weeks.”

A two-week delay would also put the football state championship games during the week of Christmas.

The GHSA has not yet released any details on exactly how the schedule would move.

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