All football games, as well as all extracurricular activities, scheduled this week in Orange County have been canceled because of the poor air quality that has resulted from the Santiago Canyon wildfire, according to Bill Habermehl, the Orange County superintendent of schools, after a conference call with 15 school district superintendents and their representatives this morning.
"It was a very difficult decision for the superintendents because they realize all the planing that goes into athletic events," Habermehl said. "But the decision was made for the health and welfare of the students and [we] decided to do it county-wide so we wouldn't have one school [competing and another not competing]. They decided to stand tall. We realize the ripple effects and implications are tremendous."
Habermehl did the same thing after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks so that everyone could be on the same page, information-wise. Some districts had intended to play that weekend, while others had not. He said they agreed to cancel activities county-wide then as well.
"You make better decisions collectively than you do in isolation," Habermehl told The Times on Wednesday. "I hope we have an onshore breeze and clear skies, but if we don't, the superintendents need to know where everybody else is."
Whether the games will be rescheduled remains to be determined.
All Sunset League games have been rescheduled to Monday, when Edison will play Esperanza at Placentia Valencia High at 7 p.m., Los Alamitos will play at Newport Harbor at 7 p.m., and Huntington Beach Marina will play Fountain Valley at Huntington Beach High at, tentatively, 3 p.m.
All games in the parochial Trinity League have also been canceled and it doesn't look as if they will be rescheduled, according to Santa Margarita Coach Mike Jacot.
Anaheim Servite was scheduled to host San Juan Capistrano Serra at Cal State Fullerton on Friday, while Santa Margarita was scheduled to host Orange Lutheran at Saddleback Collge and Santa Ana Mater Dei was at Bellflower St. John Bosco.
All South Coast League games scheduled for Friday night have been switched to Monday.
The new schedule: Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley at San Clemente, 7 p.m.; Dana Point Dana Hills at Mission Viejo, 7 p.m.; Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro at Aliso Viejo Aliso Niguel, 7 p.m.
The Empire League football teams voted today to cancel this week's games with no effort to make them up, said Mitch Olson, La Palma Kennedy's football coach and athletic director.
"Our playoff scenarios can still be worked out," said Olson, whose team, along with Placentia Valencia, is 2-0 in league. "It's not good for everybody, but they still have a good chance to get to the playoffs. Luck of the draw."
He said there was concern about trying to reschedule a game for Monday without there being any practice, and they didn't want to try to play three games in a 10-day span with a Tuesday-Friday-Thursday scenario to close out the season.
In spite of concerns that one of the six teams in the Sea View League might prevent it from rescheduling games postponed this weekend, the league will go ahead and play on Monday.
It's unclear yet what time Irvine Northwood will play host to Santa Ana Foothill at Irvine High. It depends on whether the Pacific Coast League decides to play games on Monday, in which case there could be a doubleheader that includes Corona del Mar-Irvine. Principals from the Pacific Coast League were meeting today to make that decision.
Football postponed due to fires
Poor air quality forces extracurricular activities throughout Southland to be curtailed.
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