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Florida high school football could be delayed until November

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 08:00:57-04

LAKELAND, Fla.— Football in the fall or football in the winter? High school coaches and athletes don't seem to mind when they play, just as long as they get to.

"Every athlete knows that spring game is what brings out college coaches. Especially your senior year and we weren’t able to have that and we have to depend on our season and we might not even be able to have that," said Deadrian Ellefson, a senior at Lakeland High School.

Ellefson, who plays linebacker for LHS, has been working for years leading up to this season. Standing at 5'10" and 225 pounds, the 17-year-old says this isn't like any other preseason.

"It's hard for us because we aren’t able to practice how we want to," he said.

Polk County Schools have implemented CDC guidelines like social distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Because football is a higher-risk sport when it comes to the transmission of COVID-19, the team also isn't having regular practices, according to Ellefson.

Small groups of 10 or less are permitted to weightlift in the gym while social distancing and wearing a face covering.

Outside workouts allow up to 50 players and coaches to condition on the field, according to Dan Talbot, the coordinator of athletics for Polk County schools.

Checking for signs of the coronavirus has also become protocol.

"I foresee us continuing the screening process before every practice making sure the kids don’t have any symptoms, taking their temperature and trying to catch those hopefully because the nice thing is if you have a symptom to sit out one day then to find out three days later that you have it," Talbot said.

However, even these precautions may not be enough for the Florida High School Athletic Association.

In late July, FHSAA voted to postpone the start of fall sports to August 24 and will re-evaluate that date again on August 14th. Athletic Directors across the state are suggesting Nov. 30 as a possible start date, especially for football.

"People get nervous because when they hear postponed or they hear delayed, it’s not the same thing as canceled. I think that the student-athletes now after witnesses what happened to the class of 2020 that some sort of season doesn’t matter what time of year they will take that over something being canceled," Talbot added.

For senior Ellefson, he says as long as he's able to play in his final year of high school, it doesn't matter either way.

"I eat, breathe, everything revolves around football. As long as I get to play I’m happy." Ellefson said.

On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio sent a list of recommendations down to Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis. For the full list, click here.