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Shasta County reaches threshold to play football but logistical questions remain

Outdoor sports are eligible to be played despite tier system

Shasta County on Tuesday reached the state-set threshold to resume football-related activities.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced new state Public Health guidelines on youth sports that allow high-risk outdoor sports, such as football, to be played in counties that reach less than 14 new COVID cases per 100,000 in a week – even if that county is in a red or purple colored tier.

New numbers released Tuesday by the state show Shasta County is at 10.0 per 100,000, and that it had moved from purple to red for the first time in since early November.

Trinity County sits at 7.5 per 100,000; Lassen County is at 4.8; Butte County is at 10.4; Glenn County is at 12.7; Modoc is at 6.0; and Plumas County is at 4.5.

Tehama County is just above the threshold at 14.1 per 100,000 and should be below the mark by next Tuesday (the state releases new numbers every Tuesday). Colusa County (29.7), Sutter (14.7) and Yuba County (15.1) are section counties above the mark.

The rule that teams can only play schools in bordering counties remains in place, meaning Shasta County schools could compete against Tehama, Trinity, Lassen, Plumas and Siskiyous county programs.

The news of Shasta County falling into the red tier was greeted as good news by coaches, players, parents and fans of high school football, but questions still remain before a shortened season could begin.

The new state guidelines call for parental waivers and other COVID protocols, including weekly testing. Newsom in his Friday press conference said the state would pick up the tab for testing, but thus far no details on how many districts, already feeling the pinch of budgetary concerns due to the pandemic, might fund the extra expense.

Last week, Shasta Union High School District Superintendent Jim Cloney told Shasta County Sports “we’ll have to figure out next week how to make it all work.”

Those conversations include not only testing and its cost, but how to modify schedules after the Northern Section CIF abandoned its three-season sports calendar and left it up to districts to get competition played as it became eligible.

In addition to football, soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, cheerleading, and swimming and diving also are now eligible to be played. One sport moved from orange to yellow was girls volleyball, meaning it’s unlikely to be played, joining basketball and wrestling.

Still, many are looking forward to Week One football action, which could happen as soon as March 26.

The state mandated football activities be finished by April 17, but gave each of the California Interscholastic Federation’s 10 sections the option to extend action to May 1. The Northern Section has indicated its open to playing until the April 30 date.

If that happens, a six-game season could begin March 26. Football players are required to have 10 practices under their belt before seeing on-field action. Under this scenario, practice must begin by March 12 with the time between now and then used as an extremely crunched summer-like conditioning.

Siskiyou County schools opted earlier this month – before Newsom’s announcement – to forgo a football season. Comprised of mainly small schools which rely on multi-sports athletes, many schools couldn’t chance waiting for the state as well as having a compressed calendar that forced athletes to choose between sports.

Counties in the Northern Section CIF as of Feb. 23

Eligible Counties Cases Per 100k (<14) Tier
Butte 10.4 Purple
Glenn 12.7 Purple
Lassen 4.8 Purple
Modoc 6 Purple
Plumas 4.5 Red
Shasta 10 Red
Trinity 7.5 Red
Yolo 5.6 Red

 

Non-eligible counties
Cases Per 100k (<14)
Tier
Colusa 29.7 Purple
Sierra 0 Orange
Siskiyou 7.8 Purple
Sutter 14.7 Purple
Tehama 14.1 Purple
Yuba 15.1 Purple

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for more than two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. Williams has coached various sports at the high school level over the past decade, most recently at Shasta High.

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