Moore League football teams operating within the Long Beach Unified School District on July 6 began summer football conditioning workouts, but they were closed down after two days by the district in conjunction with the Long Beach Health Department because of the spike in coronavirus cases in Southern California.
Teams were notified on Friday, July 10 they could resume workouts Monday, July 13. But Millikan, Lakewood and Wilson have decided not to join that party even though Long Beach Poly is back on the field.
The CIF Southern Section on Monday, July 20 will announce its decision on when fall sports will be contested.
“The school district continues to plan for in-person instruction and related safety measures for some point in the future,” the LBUSD said in a statement. “This week’s decision to start the school year online only was made after close consultation with local health officials, including Dr. Anissa Davis, health officer for Long Beach Health and Human Services, as well as Dr. Barbara Ferrer, health officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Health.”
Millikan coach Romeo Pellum on Tuesday morning said it was his decision, with support from the school’s athletic department, to wait until the CIF-SS announcement on Monday to make any further movement with the team.
He is concerned about the virus. In his mind, the thought of players and coaches being able to spread it to one another and also take it home to possibly infect family members, was too much to bear.
“I think that life is bigger than football and I think the health of our players, my coaches and our families is way more important than football,” Pellum said. “An extra two weeks (off) wouldn’t hurt us. I think CIF is going to make an announcement on Monday and we’re going to end up not having football until 2021 anyway, so why risk two weeks just so that the kids can be around each other?”
Lakewood coach Scott Meyer said his team is also going to await Monday’s word before doing anything else.
“We were excited to get back out there, but after two days to get shut down, we didn’t want to restart again yesterday and then get shut down again,” he said. “We just didn’t want to keep telling our players and our players’ families, ‘We’re starting, we’re stopping.’
“We want to try to establish some sort of consistency, so we could have a plan on if football is going to be in the fall or January, whatever it would be.”
Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen, in a text, said he is “tired of ping-pong decisions and the uncertainty of this virus. I want a more clear picture what CIF and our district is going to do come Monday.”
Ziegenhagen said he is also looking at the “big picture” as it pertains to what the team can and can’t do during these restricted noncontact conditioning workouts that don’t allow teams to use weight rooms or equipment, such as footballs and sleds.
“We are not preparing for cross country season, so if we can’t do full-speed right now, then I will look out for the safety of the kids and prevent spread of this,” Ziegenhagen wrote. “I have a heavy heart that the kids can’t be out there right now, but I’m also a parent who is concerned about the well-being of them as well.”
Jackrabbits coach feels good about situation
Poly coach Stephen Barbee confirmed his team restarted workouts Monday, and he is certain it’s being done safely.
“We were given the clearance by the district and the local health department,” Barbee said. “We have safety procedures set in place and we adhere to them and that’s what we’re doing.”
Barbee has liked the vibe of being able to have his players working out together, even with all the rules.
“It’s been great,” he said. “Just to see … obviously, a whole new set of standards as far as social distancing and everything in place. But the kids just truly enjoy being around each other.
“I think the whole aspect of them being able to just see each other has been uplifting for all of them.”
As for Cabrillo, first-year coach Shane Gonzalez — hired after the pandemic started — said that with a new coaching staff on hand, his team has been a leg behind, what with all the standard paperwork for coaches, permission slips for players and so on, so the Jaguars never started on July 6 and at this point will likely await Monday’s word even if all of that is taken care of during this week.