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.
Also being switched is Northwood's regularly scheduled game for Friday, Nov. 2, at Trabuco Hills; it will instead be played on Saturday, Nov. 3.
On Monday, Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills will play host to Irvine Woodbridge at 7 p.m., either at Trabuco Hills or Newport Beach Sage Hill, and Lake Forest El Toro will play at Huntington Beach, also at 7.
A doubleheader will take place at Tustin High on Monday as schools scramble to keep their games alive after fallout from the Santiago Canyon fire forced cancellation of games this week.
Tustin will play host to Anaheim Canyon in a Century League game at 4 p.m., then Irvine Beckman will play host to Cerritos in a nonleague game at 7 p.m.
There will also be a doubleheader involving the other Century League teams whose games have been postponed to Monday. Placentia El Dorado will play at Orange El Modena at 4 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by the game between Brea Olinda and Villa Park.
The Golden West League game between Orange and Santa Ana scheduled for Saturday night at Santa Ana Stadium has been postponed to 7 p.m. Monday and will be played at Huntington Beach Ocean View High. The Friday game between Ocean View and Santa Ana Saddleback, scheduled for Santa Ana Stadium, has been moved to 7 p.m. Monday at Santa Ana Segerstrom.
The Orange League teams have postponed their games tonight to Tuesday, then will play their regularly scheduled games next week on Saturday, Nov. 3.
The new schedule:
Tuesday -- Anaheim vs. Santa Ana Valley at Santa Ana Stadium, 7 p.m.; Santa Ana Century at Anaheim Western, 7 p.m.; Anaheim Magnolia vs. Anaheim Savanna at Glover Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3 -- Century vs. Anaheim at Glover Stadium, TBA; Santa Ana Valley vs. Magnolia at Western, 1 p.m.; Western vs. Savanna at Glover Stadium, 7 p.m.
Pending a meeting of Garden Grove League athletic directors on Friday, the updated schedule for league games originally scheduled to be played this week:
Monday -- Garden Grove Santiago at Garden Grove, 7 p.m.; Westminster La Quinta vs. Rancho Alamitos at Bolsa Grande, 7 p.m.
Tuesday -- Los Amigos at Bolsa Grande, 7 p.m.
Also, next Thursday's Garden Grove-Rancho Alamitos game has been moved to Saturday, Nov. 3.
The Orange Coast League game between Costa Mesa and host Laguna Beach, originally scheduled for Friday night, has been moved to Monday at 7 p.m. at Laguna Beach. In the same league, the game between Santa Ana Calvary Chapel and Costa Mesa Estancia, originally scheduled for Friday at Orange Coast College, will be played at 3 p.m. Monday at Newport Harbor High, preceding the 7 p.m. Sunset League game between Los Alamitos and Newport Harbor.
San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's and visiting Newport Coast Sage Hill have tentatively moved their Academy League opener from 7 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Jon Poffenberger, Sage Hill's athletic director, who said a final determination whether to play the game will be made no later than Saturday morning. He said the decision by the Orange County public school superintendents to postpone their games will be taken into consideration.
Los Angeles City Section schools received word this morning that the suspension of outdoor practices and competitions, which has been in place all week, has been lifted.
For the last three days, poor air quality forced schools to practice indoors. The section is also encouraging schools to stick with their schedules for football games this week.
Following that suggestion, the Eastern League game between South Gate South East and South Gate at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach will kick off, as scheduled, at 7 tonight.
However, today's Coliseum League game between Los Angeles Dorsey and host L.A. Locke, scheduled for 3 p.m., has been moved to Friday, tentatively at 3 p.m., and the Eight-Man League game between L.A. Central City Value and Pacoima Discovery Prep, scheduled tonight at Van Nuys High, has been moved to 7 p.m. Saturday at the same site.
Conditions aren't getting any better in Moreno Valley, where a orange haze has filled the sky much of the day. The Santa Ana winds initially spared much of these communities from the smoke, but off-shore breezes are pushing it further inland.
Patrick McDaniel, boys' athletic director at Moreno Valley, said the principals from the Inland Valley League schools would huddle Friday morning to decide the fate of the three games scheduled for that night.
Moreno Valley is slated to play seven miles away at Rancho Verde, where it's homecoming week and the air quality was bad enough Thursday afternoon that they canceled the junior varsity game.
"Hopefully, it'll all push through," McDaniel said.
McDaniel added that if the games are not made up Saturday, they will likely be canceled.
In the Citrus Belt League, Redlands East Valley, ranked No. 5 in the Southland by The Times, has moved its Friday game against Rialto Carter, originally scheduled for the University of Redlands, to La Quinta High at 7:30 p.m.. And Friday's game between Fontana and host Yucaipa has been moved to Palm Springs High, 7 p.m.
In the Mt. Baldy League, the Chaffey-Ontario game at Montclair High has been moved from tonight to Saturday. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The San Andreas League has canceled all its football games this weekend.
Colton Coach Harold Strauss, whose team was scheduled to play Friday night at San Bernardino Pacific, was hoping the league wouldn't resort to cancellations. However, by a vote of 5-1 among the league's athletic directors and principals Wednesday afternoon, with Colton the only dissension, it was decided the games would not be rescheduled.
Four years ago, when fires entered the city of San Bernardino, the league also canceled its games, while other leagues in the area played or rescheduled their games. Strauss was hoping league members had learned from the experience but, as football coach of the only league school outside the San Bernardino Unified School District, he was in the minority.
"We could have played the games last time," he said. "It's tough when you're sending kids home. What are they going to do? We've been in school all week and have been practicing indoors."
Strauss even had an alternate site lined up at Hesperia High, but now he plans to use his players in some sort of volunteer capacity. Colton canceled classes on Thursday and Friday as well.
"We'll try to get our kids involved in the Red Cross or something," he said.
Besides the Colton at Pacific game, the San Bernardino Cajon at San Bernardino Arroyo Valley and San Bernardino San Gorgonio at San Bernardino games, also scheduled for Friday, were canceled.
The Southwestern League might wait until Friday morning before determining whether its three games will be played that night, according to Mike Rowan, boys' athletic director at Temecula Chaparral.
The Pumas are scheduled to host Vista Murrieta, Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon is at Temecula Great Oak and Murrieta Valley is at Temecula Valley. All three games are scheduled to be hosted by schools within the Temecula Valley Unified School District, but Rowan said just because school is not in session tomorrow doesn't mean the games won't be played.
Canceled, however, is Friday's live television coverage of the Vista Murrieta at Chaparral game that was scheduled to be provided by FSN Prime Ticket.
David Ochs, boys' athletic director at Lake Arrowhead Rim of the World, said the Fighting Scots' Mojave River League game Friday night at Sultana will not be played.
"We have kids coming home to just a chimney," Ochs said. "Others haven't even seen it [the fire] yet."
Ochs, who lives near Lake Arrowhead Village, said from his home Wednesday morning that the wind was non-existent and aircraft could be heard overhead fighting the fires. He said he doesn't expect the game against Sultana to be rescheduled.
In another league game scheduled for Friday, Phelan Serrano at Apple Valley has tentatively been postponed to Monday, 7 p.m.
Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos is still planning to travel to Upland for a Baseline League game Friday night, but Jim Drake, boys' athletic director at Upland, said they are still taking things one day at a time.
Corona Centennial, ranked second in the Southland by The Times, doesn't have to worry about making any decisions this week, as the Huskies weren't scheduled to play a Mountain View League game this week.
"We planned that right," Athletic Director Dennis Pratt said.
The Ivy League is still in wait-to-breath-the-air mode, according to Jim McNamara, boys' athletic director at Riverside North. He said they'll hold out until Friday morning before making a decision. if they don't play Friday night, they'll try to squeeze in the games on Monday.
"We don't want to cancel if we absolutely don't have to," McNamara said. 'If the [poor air quality] keeps up, it won't be real good."
La Sierra is the only school in the Ivy League not part of the Riverside Unified School District. Officials from the district will make the final decision on whether to play the games, McNamara said.
Riverside North is scheduled to play at Riverside King, Riverside Poly at La Sierra and Arlington at Ramona.
The San Bernardino Aquinas vs. Redlands Arrowhead Christian game in the Christian League has been moved from Friday at Arrowhead Christian to Saturday at Desert Hot Springs, 7 p.m.
The Victorville Silverado at Barstow game in the Desert Sky League has been moved from Friday to Monday, 7 p.m.
The Riverside Norte Vista at Bloomingto game in the Sunkist League has been postponed and may be canceled.
The nonleague game between Hesperia and host Victor Valley has been canceled.
San Gabriel Valley
Compton Dominguez is scheduled to play at Parmount in a San Gabriel Valley League game at 7 p.m. Friday, but the Dons are sitting tight as they await a decision by the Paramount Unified School District regarding whether the game will go on in the wake of fires that have caused poor air quality throughout the Southland the past few days.
A freshman game between the teams that was scheduled to take place today at Paramount was postponed to Friday afternoon.
Dominguez (5-2), ranked No. 16 by The Times, is in the Compton Unified School District, but as the host school, Paramount (1-6, 0-2) gets the call on whether to play the game. A decision is expected to be made Friday morning, a Paramount athletic department official said.
"It's hard to re-schedule football games, but we have to consider the health of the kids, too," Dominguez co-Coach Keith Donerson said.
The Dons have spent most of the week doing indoor walk-throughs or holding film and weightlifting sessions instead of practicing outdoors, but air quality in the area is improving, according to Donerson.
"I think it's a lot better today than it was the last three days," he said. "It seems like we could play."
Glendora's Sierra League game against host Chino, originally scheduled for tonight, then moved to Friday night at Chino Hills High, has been pushed back to Saturday, though a time and location have yet to be determined.
All Del Rio League games have been postponed, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The games could be played on Saturday, but there is no official word.
Football games involving schools in the Long Beach Unified School District are expected to go on as scheduled Friday night.
Coaches say their teams' practices this week have been slowed, but not stopped, by the fires and poor air quality that have affected much of the Southland the past few days.
In the Moore League, Compton will play at Millikan, Long Beach Cabrillo will face Long Beach Poly at Veterans Stadium and Long Beach Wilson plays at Long Beach Jordan in 7 p.m. games.
The ABC Unified School District canceled all athletic events scheduled today, but is holding off on decisions affecting varsity football games until Friday.
"What we're hearing is that the air quality will be improved," said Kathy Frazier, the district's director of schools. "We're taking things one day at a time, and we'll always err on the side of caution."
Friday's decision could impact Gahr, which is scheduled to host Warren in a key San Gabriel Valley League game. Both have 5-2 records. Warren is 2-0 in league play, Gahr 1-1.
A nonleague game between Cerritos and host Irvine Beckman on Friday at Tustin High has already been postponed to Monday at 7 p.m.
The intersectional game between Inglewood Animo and host San Diego Midway Baptist on Saturday has been canceled, as have all games and extracurricular activities for schools in San Diego county.
San Fernando Valley/North
Newbury Park Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator George Hurley said all Marmonte League games except for Agoura-Simi Valley Royal (Saturday at 4 p.m.) are still scheduled to be played Friday. However, he warned that could change if the four separate school districts which govern the eight Marmonte League schools decide to make changes on Friday.
Hurley also said all the league's coaches and athletic directors have decided all games will either be played or canceled so that one team will not have an advantage over another.
Still, the situation is constantly changing. At 8 a.m., Hurley was notified by Conejo Valley Unified School District officials that he could hold his first, full outdoor practice this week. By 9 a.m., district officials limited it to an outdoor walk-through.
All other Marmonte League teams are holding outside practices as well.
"It'll be good to finally get out there," Hurley said. "You can't really practice kickoffs in the cafeteria."
All Marmonte League freshman games have been postponed until Friday, according to Hurley, who said Newbury Park's freshman team will play at 2 p.m. as part of a football triple-header.
Saugus Coach Jason Bornn said the Hart Union High School district gave them the thumbs up to practice outside today and said all Santa Clarita-area games, including those in the Foothill League, will be played as scheduled this week.
"We're glad to be back outside," Bornn said. "We practiced in the gym [yesterday] and it was different, but we got some things done."
Times reporters Eric Sondheimer, Dan Arritt, Jaime Cardenas, Martin Henderson, Lauren Peterson and Mike Terry, as well as contributors Eric Maddy and Austin Knoblauch contributed to this report.