Football practice resumes as more Pennsylvania high schools loosen COVID-19 restrictions

SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Students in Philadelphia's 17 Archdiocesan high schools will be allowed to play fall sports after all.

In a statement Friday, the Archdiocese reversed a decision made in August to opt-out of interscholastic competition.

The Cardinal O'Hara Lions were back on the football practice field again on Monday evening in Springfield, Delaware County.

"They reopened and everything is back up good and I'm just grateful to be up here," said senior Chris Sheffer.

"Oh I was just really excited," said sophomore Joe Alfonsi.

For head coach and athletic director B.J. Hogan, the challenge this year is not just putting together a winning football team, but keeping them safe from COVID-19.

"I haven't been able to sleep all weekend just because you go right in the planning mode," said Hogan.

All of the athletes in the Philadelphia Catholic League football program are required to wear masks under their helmets and follow all safety protocols.

"Honestly, we're just grateful to be out here, gotta take all the safety precautions," said senior player Brett Shoman.

Right now, it's still unclear when their first game will be and who they'll be competing against.

"That's what we're trying to figure out tonight and the next couple days is trying to see what teams are actually gonna opt-in and play," said Coach Hogan.

At William Penn High in New Castle, Delaware, football practice also resumed Monday after the Colonial School District gave the green light.

"They're just blessed that they get a season because things weren't looking too good a couple of weeks ago, and now they got good news so they're ready to play," said Matthew Sabol, the head coach and athletic director at William Penn High School.

All athletes must wear masks and bring their own water bottles.

"And everybody will get a temp check and then a health screening survey that says what your temperature is and if you have had any symptoms," said Coach Sabol.

For everyone involved, all of this can be a bit tedious, and for some even, an inconvenience.

"With the guidelines, it's just what we have to do and the kids would rather wear the masks and get to play than not play at all," said Sabol.
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