Well, not yet but there is a growing optimism in regards to high school sports, specifically football as a season may happen after all.
Football could start by March if the COVID-19 case-rate in Riverside County reaches the threshold of 14 cases or less per 100,000 people. Right now, Riverside County is at 16.6, which is 2.6 short of meeting the requirement for a return to play.
The good news is that Riverside County had a significant drop in case numbers recently, going from 28.8 to the current 16.6. Based on this trend, we could reach the threshold by next week, thus allowing football to start.
However, time is of the essence. CIF-SS declared the high school football season must end by Saturday, April 17. Additionally, teams must practice for 14 days prior to any games.
Here's a projected timeline for high school football with a corresponding schedule for our six Desert Empire League schools. The Desert Valley League (8 schools) had a meeting Wednesday, Feb. 24 to discuss their course of action.
- Tuesday, March 2 - Approval to begin if case-rate reaches threshold
- Friday, March 5 - First full practice
- Friday, March 19 - Game 1
- Palm Springs at Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage at Xavier Prep, Shadow Hills at La Quinta
- Friday, March 26 - Game 2
- Palm Desert at Shadow Hills, La Quinta at Rancho Mirage, Xavier Prep at Palm Springs
- Friday, April 2 - Game 3
- Palm Desert at Xavier Prep (Cook Street Rivalry), Shadow Hills at Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs at La Quinta (Mike Gates Game)
- Friday, April 9 - Game 4
- Rancho Mirage at Palm Desert, Xavier Prep at La Quinta, Shadow Hills at Palm Springs
- Friday, April 16 - Game 5
- La Quinta at Palm Desert (Flag Game), Rancho Mirage at Palm Springs (Ramon Road Rivalry), Xavier Prep at Shadow Hills
This format of games works particularly well for DEL schools since there are six teams. Every team can play each other once.
As for DVL schools, we will see what is decided since their league is compiled of 8 teams. However, sources tell KESQ that a 6-team league made up of Coachella Valley, Indio, Cathedral City, DHS, Yucca Valley, and 29 Palms. The two schools not included in this are Desert Mirage and Banning.
As for the DEL, football coaches are excited, especially for their kids, about the possibility of finally playing.
"I'm extremely happy for my seniors. They’ve been through so much and deserve any and all opportunities to shine," said Pat Murphy, head football coach at Palm Springs high school.
"We have been prepared for the moment we get the 'okay'. Our guys and coaches have showed a lot of dedication and commitment the last 12 months," said Shane McComb, head football coach at Palm Desert high school.
"We'll we have to get these guys ready to go in a short period of time. So the pressure is on for sure, but it will be great for these guys to get back out on the field. Pretty excited about that," said Patrick Rivenes, head football coach at La Quinta high school.
The last local high school football game was November of 2019. If football were to happen in March it would mark the end of a 16-month layoff.
Now unfortunately, indoor sports are still not allowed to play. Sports like volleyball, basketball, wrestling and others will be more difficult to compete under these circumstances.
With that said, other sports are currently going on, while more are expected to start soon.
- Active: Cross country, Girls' tennis
- Feb. 27: Soccer
- March 1: Boys' tennis
- March 13: Swimming
- March 19: Baseball, softball
- March 20: Track and field, volleyball (outdoor)
You can also visit CIF-SS, the governing body for all high school sports in California's southern section.
Stay with KESQ News Channel 3 for the latest on this developing story.