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Two California Schools Play Football Despite Shutdown

Jason Scott

Two private high schools in Orange County, Calif., reportedly played a football game on Saturday, despite state mandates against such activity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Orange County Register reports that Capistrano Valley Christian and Calvary Chapel of Santa Ana high school football teams may have violated not just state mandates, but California Interscholastic Federation and Southern Section rules by playing the game on Jan. 16.

The Register reports that it is apparently the first contest between two schools using school equipment despite the restrictions to take place this school year. 

Southern Section assistant commissioner and spokesperson Thom Simmons told the Register that the CIF was investigating the incident. 

“We are still looking into it,” Simmons said via email. “However, the decision to allow athletic teams to resume is an individual school/school district/private school decision, following the guidelines developed by the California Department of Public Health and local health authorities.”

Paul Caldera, assignor for the Orange County Football Officials Association, told the Register that he did not assign officials to work the game, nor was he notified of it. 

Current restrictions set by the California Department of Health have banned high school and youth sports competitions until Jan. 25 at the earliest, citing the “mixing of households, traveling, and unavoidable physical contact” that comes with sports competition. The Department of Health says that competition could increase the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. 

Both schools are private, and are not a part of a school district. Cavalry Chapel head coach Pat McInally told the Register that the event was “more of a glorified scrimmage,” and that the game was played with modified rules, including no kickoffs.

Still, the contest certainly violated a stay-at-home order that bans private gatherings of any size. That order went into effect throughout Orange County last month, as COVID cases surged in the state.

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