The Return of Local Football

Good teams come and go, as do good coaches and good leagues. The top league in our area this year is the Mission League (not coincidentally, made up entirely of private schools). The past few years, the Marmonte League was on top. So the cycle continues. …

Good athletes come to play for good coaches, but some coaches want to stay in weak leagues to look good. They have an easy schedule, less attrition during league play and an easier run in the playoffs. Attrition is a game-changer in the playoffs. If you don’t have a hard schedule, it makes it easier to win in the post-season. The truth is, leagues need to be reviewed. For example, Sierra Canyon is ranked 4th in the state and has been a good team for years. Yet they are in the same league (Gold Coast) as Viewpoint, ranked 743rd in the state. Only two schools in that league are in the top 100. Something’s out of whack. …

It seems like COVID started a new era in high school football. Private schools do not follow the same rules as public schools (and never have). This year, many of them have been allowed to practice without the severe restrictions the public schools have been dealing with, and it shows. The question is, “Why is the playing field not equal?”

Public high schools follow the protocol that CVUSD put into place with the Ventura Health Department guidelines. This protocol includes quarantining all players for ten days if one player tests positive. Seventeen players on my son’s team were quarantined for ten days when one player tested positive. Here’s a question: Why not do a rapid antigen test to confirm the positive COVID test for the whole team’s safety? Forty-six other states in our beloved union did just that and played an entire season in the fall — with no harm to the children. I’ll say that again: 46 other states ran the rapid antigen test model to confirm (or not) the result and identify a false positive. But our California experts seem to be making up arbitrary protocols. Why did they not follow what other states were doing successfully three months earlier?

I sent our principal an email when this team-quarantine happened on March 16 and asked why the school didn’t do rapid antigen retests to players who tested positive to confirm the results. Sadly, the principal had already canceled the game without retesting anyone. His response: “In situations such as this, we must follow the protocol that our district has in place and that has been approved by Ventura County Public Health. This means that anyone that has tested positive or been identified as a close contact must quarantine for 10 days from the last date of contact. Testing within this time frame does not have an impact on shortening this window.” 

Because of this, the team has lost two games, thanks to what turned out to be a false positive. Bad decisions are taking games away from athletes, and the decisions our school district has made are just not well thought out. Football in the Conejo Valley started weeks ago. They get to play 5 to 6 games, and the teams don’t get any playoffs. It is sad when you ask local coaches for games, and they don’t want to play, but the players do …

Fast-forward a couple of weeks: Football teams don’t have to test anymore for COVID — but basketball teams do? People seem to follow the rules just because they are rules; it doesn’t matter if they make sense. …

One of the significant casualties of COVID was Grace Brethren’s football program, which has folded. Grace Brethren High School had become a dominating force on the gridiron. They won a state championship in 2019, lost in the title game vs. Corona Del Mar in 2020, and finally got moved into the Marmonte league. Now, with Grace Brethren gone, the Marmonte League has only three football teams. It is sad to see them go, and the big loss is for all those athletes. Once again, the children are harmed. …

It’s amazing what is now considered “dangerous.” The school board only recently allowed athletes to use a football in practice. They said it was dangerous. I’m here to tell you, not being prepared for a game can harm athletes more than COVID can. Imagine being a public high school player, playing against a private school team. That private school didn’t have to follow the same restrictions as public schools. They have been practicing longer. They are readier. It’s a mismatch physically to put two teams on the field who have had very different levels of preparation. It could be dangerous for the public school player who is not as prepared because of COVID restrictions. …

Big congrats to Thousand Oaks football team for winning their first game in more than two years! They took their season opener vs. Newbury Park in a close game. It’s been a long time for the Lancers. Maybe it has something to do with a new coach? Thousand Oaks High School is on the rise. They should be competitive in the Canyon League. Good for them. Looking forward to seeing TO football become competitive again. …

Sierra Canyon hung with St. John Bosco (a football powerhouse) and shut out Oaks Christian for the first time in the history of the school. St. Bonaventura turned the tables on Westlake and blew them off the field with a big win like Westlake has been doing to them for the past four years. St. Bonaventura has a new football coach; I am guessing he is the difference. …

Calabasas has a new coaching staff; they will not be the dominating force they have been for three years. Oaks Christian blew them out in what normally would have been a competitive game. FYI, the coaches from Calabasas moved to Alemany. I am betting Alemany will win a State Championship soon. …

We should all agree. It doesn’t matter whether you’re afraid of COVID or not; the actions taken during this pandemic have done more harm than the virus itself. It’s time for better decisions and more sensible results. Let the games begin!

Mission League

·    Serra High School. Record 4-1 *Ranked 24

·    Chaminade High School Record 3-2 *Ranked 42

·    Alemany High School Record 3-1 *Ranked 8

·    Notre Dame High School Record 1-3 *Ranked 77

·    Bishop Amat High School Record 1-3 *Ranked 37

·    Cathedral High School Record 0-4 *Ranked 150

Marmonte League

·    Calabasas High School Record 2-2 *Ranked 110

·    Grace Brethren High School Folded its football program

·    Oaks Christian School Record 4-1 *Ranked 31

·    Westlake High School Record 0-3 *Ranked 250

Canyon League

·    Agoura High School Record 3-2 *Ranked 346

·    Oak Park High School Record 2-2 *Ranked 466

·    Royal High School Record 1-3 *Ranked 760

·    Simi Valley High School Record 3-1 *Ranked 169

·    Thousand Oaks High School Record 2-2 *Ranked 358

Camino League

·    Bishop Diego High School Record 4-0 *Ranked 58

·    Camarillo High School Record 2-2 *Ranked 280

·    Moorpark High School Record 1-1 *Ranked 368

·    Newbury Park High School Record 1-3 *Ranked 541

·    St. Bonaventure High School Record 3-1 *Ranked 108

Gold Coast League

·    Campbell Hall High School Record 3-1 *Ranked 533

·    Brentwood High School Record 2-1 *Ranked 517

·    Viewpoint High School Record 0-3 *Ranked 743

·    Paraclete High School Record 3-2 *Ranked 83

·    Rio Hondo High School Record 3-0 *Ranked 253

·    Sierra Canyon High School Record 4-1 *Ranked 4

*MaxPreps California State Ranking

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