Galt High's football opener canceled due to COVID-19 cases

Wes Bowers, Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif.
·3 min read

Mar. 13—As athletics programs across the state were being allowed to resume, Galt High School varsity football coach Tom Cobleigh was hoping his Warriors would be back on the gridiron Friday for a spring opening game against El Dorado High School in Placerville.

But, three of his players tested positive for COVID-19 over a seven-day period this past week, prompting the team to cancel the game.

"All in all, it's been a long time waiting to get to this point to play again," Cobleigh said. "The kids are frustrated, maybe a little angry too."

Players who did not test positive Thursday, March 4 were tested again last Monday, and all tested negative again. Cobleigh said the team will be tested again next Monday.

Those who tested positive this week were asymptomatic, he said.

Galt High's junior varsity team played Friday evening as scheduled.

Players and coaches from each football team must test negative before competing in games, and any team that has a positive test result must quarantine for 10 days.

Currently, testing is required for high-contact sports such as football, but will not be if Sacramento County's new COVID case rate falls below 7 per 100,000 residents.

The county's current new case rate was 7.6 per 100,000 resident as of Friday, according to Sacramento County Public Health.

Cobleigh is hoping the team can travel to Sacramento next Friday for a scheduled game against Bradshaw Christian School, and that the Sierra Valley Conference will extend the season and let the Warriors and Cougars reschedule the canceled game.

As it stands now, Galt has three games remaining in the pandemic-shortened season, facing off only against SVC opponents.

"This has been a very unusual year," Sierra Valley Conference commissioner John Williams said. "Each league has set up its own start and ending days, rather than the sections. So Galt has asked our league to extend the season, and we'll meet next Monday morning to discuss their request. I hoping to have a decision at that time."

Williams said it is easier to reschedule matches for sports such as volleyball, where a team can typically play multiple times in a week. As football teams only play once a week, it will be a difficult decision to extend the season.

Additionally, most sports resuming this spring have been granted longer seasons — until June 12 — to play.

But the California Sports Medicine Advisory Committee has told football programs that there needs to be certain period of rest time between when student athletes end contact and when they start, recommending a season end date of April 17.

There have been 2,630 COVID-19 cases in Galt since the pandemic began, as well as 41 deaths. There have been 95,088 cases and 1,541 deaths in Sacramento County, with 181 cases reported between Thursday and Friday, according to public health.

"I told my kids it's a small sacrifice to stay in quarantine," Cobleigh said. "But we have to do our due diligence so we can go back out on the field. It kind of sucks, this being the one-year anniversary to when this all started, but for the most part everyone is still healthy."