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LHSAA football guidelines in place for gamedays

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association announced guidelines for fall sports events.

When it comes to football, scrimmages, jamborees, 7-on-7 practices and tournaments will not take place.

Social distancing (staying six-feet apart) is required as best as possible. The players box has been extended by 20 yards total. It has been from the 25 to the 25. This season, it will be from the 15 to the 15.

The guidelines recommend that roster limits be put in to help with social distancing and that teams have travel rosters for those with a large number of players.

The sideline protocol says for only essential personnel to be permitted on the field of play, which is defined as the area between the boundary lines and the goal lines. Essential personnel are defined as players, coaches, athletic trainers, officials and the chain crew. Non-essential personnel are expected to be on the sideline maintaining social distance and not entering the field.

The coin toss will have one designated player from each team with social distancing, no handshakes and the same protocol will be followed if the game goes to overtime. There will be no pre- and post-game handshakes.

For practice and games, there should be a wide availability of sanitizer accessible and should be used as much as possible. Players are encouraged to provide their own.

The break between the first-and-second and third-and-fourth quarters is now two minutes to allow for proper sanitizing and hydration.

Masks are required to be worn by everybody on the sideline. The 22 players on the field are not required to wear a mask.

The guidelines recommend that players keep their mouthpieces in their mouth at all times and that they sanitize their hands every time they touch their mouthpiece.

Players must have their own water bottles/jugs. Water is only to be consumed and players should not rinse their mouth out for spitting purposes, rinse out their mouthpieces or pour water on their facemasks, faces or necks.

Game balls should be cleaned and sanitized throughout the game using solutions recommended by the ball manufacturer.

The last three include game administrators keeping fans and others from congregating and not engaging with players, coaches and team personnel in post-game activity.

The facility has to follow all CDC and public health guidelines for facility sanitization and coaches must assist to facilitate the reduction of handshakes, high fives and fist bumps.

“I’ve only read through them once (as of Tuesday), but they are some of what we’re doing now,” Franklinton coach Jonathan Barber said. “It’s all hands on deck to keep the kids safe. Ultimately, it’s our job to keep the kids and keep their families safe. We all have to do our part to keep the virus from spreading. It’s a collective effort. Our players and coaches have done a great job of doing their part to stop the spread and that’s what we want to continue to do because we want to continue to have the opportunity to compete.”

Varnado coach Milton Green said he thinks great they put in the new guidelines and new rules for this year.

“It’s going to be different and it’ll be tough at first, but it’s the steps we have to take to ensure the safety for the kids so that we can continue to play the game we love,” Green said.

Based on the plan LHSAA announced last week, the four LHSAA schools in Washington Parish open their season on Oct. 9 and every game takes place in Washington Parish.

Franklinton starts the season against Bogalusa Lewis V. Murray Jr. Stadium at Bogalusa. Varnado is hosting East Iberville, and Pine is at home against Pearl River.