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AHSAA approves plan to start prep football on time

High School football for public schools in Alabama will start on time.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved the AHSAA’s Return to Play ‘Best Practices’ recommended guidelines.

Fall sports teams have the option to begin fall workouts Monday with the first week used by football for acclimation purposes only with helmets and shorts only.

The other fall sports – volleyball, cross country and swimming and diving – can use the first week for acclimation and tryouts. Schools not choosing that option may start fall practice on Aug. 3.

AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese said that every decision surrounding the coronavirus pandemic could change quickly.

The first football game can be played Aug. 20, although most schools usually open the season the last weekend of August.

“There’s no right or wrong to what people are doing,” Selma High Athletic Director Katasha Turner said. “You have to do what’s best for your student-athletes and coaches because they have families.”

Dallas County has five prep public schools: Dallas County High School, Ellwood Christian Academy, Keith High School, Selma High School and Southside High School.

“We are excited and can’t wait to get back out there,” Dallas County High coach Heath LeVert said. “The kids are hungry and my seniors are especially happy for the opportunity. We know the season will look different, but we are ready and willing to do whatever we have to do in order to play.”

Selma coach Willie Gandy, The Selma Times-Journal football coach of the year, said following the guidelines will be key.

“All we can do as coaches is comply with all the regulations put in place and make sure we are sanitizing our facilities and doing what is best for the safety of our players and coaches,” Gandy said.

Southside football coach Charles Moody said  he’s grateful the Panthers will have a chance to play football this season.

“Everyone is excited about the opportunity to play football, but all coaches and players around the state have to make sure we all take the precautionary measures to ensure we remain safe,” Moody said.

Keith High football coach Anthony Lumpkin said he’s “very excited and cautious” to start preparing for the upcoming season.

Here are some AHSAA guidelines:

Football: Players box extended from the 10-yard-line to the 10-yard line, timeouts extended to two minutes to allow for social distancing and water bottles being handed out, only one captain from each team at the coin toss.

Volleyball: Suspend protocol of changing benches, the pre-match conference will take place at center court and only include the head coaches, the number of people at the scorer’s table will be limited.