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The Hartselle Tigers take the field against the Hazel Green Trojans on Oct. 25, 2019. Special to the Enquirer/ Mariann Parker

AHSAA “extremely optimistic” for high school season to begin on time

In the wake of announcements by the BIG10 and PAC-12 conferences, playing conference-only games, and the Ivy League, canceled their season, the AHSAA is still committed to playing a full schedule this fall.

AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese recently told AL.com that he is “extremely optimistic” that high school sports will begin practicing for the upcoming season later this month.

High school football teams can officially begin fall practice on July 27, a week earlier than initially scheduled. The additional week was granted since spring practice was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The AHSAA held a virtual meeting with the Football Coaches Committee and the Fall Sports Committee. The two committees heard updates from the AHSAA Medical Advisory Board and the Alabama State Department of Education regarding returning to school and play this fall.

Local coaches remain optimistic about starting the 2020 season on time and playing a full schedule. Hartselle, Brewer, Danville, and Falkville open their seasons on August 21, while Priceville will open their season on August 28.

Coaches are doing all they can to ensure the health and safety of their athletes during the summer. It all starts temperature testing before practice to maintaining social distancing during workouts to thoroughly cleaning their facilities following workouts.

Despite all of these safety precautions, the coronavirus has still impacted teams locally and across the state this summer. Locally, Danville head coach Shannon McGregory has tested positive for COVID-19, and his program has suspended workouts until July 20. Other schools in North Alabama to suspend their workouts include Muscle Shoals, Tanner, and Albertville.

The AHSAA looks to release a plan following the Central Board of Control’s approval at its July 22 meeting. The plan will provide guidelines for all fall sports to occur this season.