It's been a long wait but high school sports are finally returning to Santa Barbara County.
With the county's adjusted case rate below the 14 per 100,000 thresholds (13), high-contact sports can resume practice. Weekly testing will be required for coaches and football, rugby, and water polo players 13 years and older. Test results must be available within 24 hours of any competition. Athletes and coaches must wear masks.
"I'm looking forward to just having fun with them, I told my staff and kids, we’re going to go have fun. there are no playoffs at the end of this, no city league title or anything like that – go out there and enjoy every practice and game and to have fun," Pioneer Valley football head coach John Beck said.
Santa Maria has been training over the last five months because they didn't suspend practices for the student-athletes. football head coach Dan Ellington says that his team has had a lot of time to prepare for the upcoming season.
"They’ve been asking me every day for the past month, are we going to play coach? I'm just glad to see the kids have an opportunity to play, that’s really awesome,” Ellington added.
Lompoc football resumed practice Tuesday and head coach Andrew Jones is eager to start working with his team.
“We’re excited to put equipment on, our helmets on today and we will be as ready as we can be… our guys are excited to compete five more times, especially the seniors,” Jones said.
“Shoutout to the athletic director’s in our area who fought to get sports going again. They have been fighting and striving every single day," Beck added.
Just 17 more days until high school football is back on the central coast.