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Chaminade football players head to Arizona for seven-on-seven club tournament

Chaminade quarterback Jaylen Henderson was set to compete with teammates in a seven-on-seven tournament on Wednesday.
Chaminade quarterback Jaylen Henderson was set to compete with teammates in a seven-on-seven tournament in Bullhead City, Ariz.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Bullhead City, Ariz., is becoming a favorite sports destination for Southland families hoping to have their sons and daughters participate in youth sports competitions while California is in lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday morning, close to two dozen West Hills Chaminade High football players were scheduled to play in a seven-on-seven passing tournament while playing for the newly formed club team West Hills Hawks.

They left on Tuesday with support from head coach Ed Croson, who has several assistants running the team.

“It’s all about the kids,” Croson said. “The things they have been denied they won’t get back.”

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With high school sports on lockdown until at least January 2021, club teams have been formed in a variety of sports.

“This is the only opportunity we have to compete,” Chaminade quarterback Jaylen Henderson said Tuesday night while driving to Arizona for a game scheduled at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The players will have to quarantine for 14 days when they return and thus won’t be able to join Chaminade for conditioning until Dec. 16, but Croson said he is fine with that requirement.

“We felt it was most important to get some kind of football in them,” he said.

Chaminade is doing distance learning. Players will likely miss online classes Wednesday but will make up the work. The club team had to obtain insurance and players needed permission from their parents to participate.

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Other players from Southern California were also expected to participate. Bullhead City has been the destination for 11-on-11 football competition and other club sporting events. California rules don’t allow youth sports competitions, so club teams in soccer, softball and volleyball have been traveling to Arizona, Texas, Nevada and Utah for competitions.

And with uncertainty whether there will be a football season in California, more club football teams are expected to be formed next month as players try to find ways to attract the attention of college recruiters.


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