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High School Sports Get a Fresh Start

The statewide reopening of schools this month for full in-person instruction also marks the return of high school athletics with their normal fall, winter and spring seasons, which include section, regional and state playoffs.
“After all that we have been through, it is gratifying to be able to state that fact as we embark on the upcoming school year,” Rob Wigod, commissioner of the CIF Southern Section, said in a recent statement.
Several local schools officially kicked off the fall season last week with football and volleyball teams in competition.
After playing only one game in last school year’s season — which was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic — the Polytechnic varsity football team opened its campaign with a 34-14 victory on the road against Savanna of Anaheim on Saturday.
“The seniors have really shown outstanding leadership and the younger guys are following the example set forth,” Schmoke said in an email. “With Rio up next and the new league, we have a lot of work to put in, but we are thrilled to be back outside working together. Facing the challenge of playing bigger schools and great competition week in and week out is a blessing, and the kids are excited to get their opportunity to make their mark.”
La Salle College Preparatory also began its season last week and fell to visiting Village Christian of Sun Valley, 54-25.
Lancers quarterback Richie Munoz threw for 308 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, and sophomore receiver Mauricio Pavon finished with seven receptions for 127 yards and one score. Rashaad Austin hauled in two passes for 96 yards and touchdown, and Matthew Gamble finished with two receptions for 32 yards and two scores.
Pasadena High School was also a participant in Week 0 of CIF-SS football, traveling to Sherman Oaks to take on Notre Dame.
The Bulldogs led 21-7 after one quarter, but the Knights rallied to defeat the visiting squad, 47-39. PHS quarterback Kaden Taylor threw for 306 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, and standout running receiver Mekhi Fox caught 10 passes for 238 yards and a score. Daylon Beasley rushed for 87 yards and a score on 10 carries, and Jamir Allen and Jason Sanford Jr. each contributed a touchdown reception.

Girls’ volleyball is also underway, with teams throughout the San Gabriel Valley competing in tournaments. Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and La Salle are on the list of teams to watch that was released by the CIF-SS prior to the season.
Though the return of prep sports brings back a semblance of normalcy after pandemic-caused disruptions, schools in Los Angeles County must continue to follow the protocol for organized youth sports, which was updated late Monday.
Effective Sept. 1, student-athletes competing in sports with “moderate risk” and “high risk” levels of infection must be tested weekly. Such sports include football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, lacrosse and doubles tennis.
Coronavirus testing must be performed within 48 hours of competition and results must be available before competition begins, a rule that could prove to be a challenge for many schools, because some labs take more than two days to deliver results.
The county is also requiring all spectators, athletes and coaches to wear masks indoors. Volleyball players must wear their masks during competition and can take them off only when eating or drinking.
“Given the increase in community transmission of COVID-19 and the predominance of the more easily spread Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, masking indoors, regardless of vaccination status, is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in its updated order for youth sports. “The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus spreads more easily than strains of the virus that circulated in L.A. in the past.”


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