Friday night lights is back as high school football gets a restart

Crespi High School players practice for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions shut down interscholastic sports.
Crespi High players practice for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions shut down interscholastic sports in California.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
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Across California on Friday, full football practice was officially allowed in counties that had reached adjusted COVID-19 case rates of 14.0 or fewer per 100,000 people. At private and public schools in Los Angeles and Orange counties, teams began a two-week preparation process for games next month. The fall season was delayed on July 30, then delayed again in December because of the coronavirus.

Crespi High football players lift weights before practicing.
Crespi High football players lift weights before practicing.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

More visual journalism from the photography staff of the Los Angeles Times

Crespi players go through drills at the first practice.
Crespi players go through drills at the first practice.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

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There are obstacles to overcome. Coaches and players must be tested weekly before playing in games. Schools are awaiting guidance from the California Department of Public Health for what happens if there’s a single positive test. One football coach says his league policy under consideration for a positive test is that the game would be canceled and the team would be sidelined for a minimum two weeks.
There’s also the question of whether any spectators will be permitted at games. It will be up to schools to decide, but state guidelines recommend observation be limited to “immediate household members.”

So every game and every practice figures to be precious because no one knows how smoothly this season will proceed. For Southern Section teams, the season has to end by April 17. For the City Section, the season ends April 30, but no Los Angeles Unified School District teams are playing or practicing for now.

Crespi High School coach Dameon Porter, yellow sweatshirt, addresses his team.
Crespi High School coach Dameon Porter, yellow sweatshirt, addresses his team, which is socially distanced with their helmets on after practicing.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Crespi High School practices for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions shut down interscholastic sports.
Crespi High practices for the first time since the pandemic stopped high school sports in California last year.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Coach Benjamin Oyeka disinfects weight sleds at Crespi High.
Coach Benjamin Oyeka disinfects weight sleds at Crespi High.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Crespi High coach Dameon Porter directs players as they practice for the first time.
Crespi High coach Dameon Porter directs players as they practice for the first time.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

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Kaliq Wilkens and Anthony Calfo change their shoes on the track following practice at Crespi High.
Kaliq Wilkens, left, Anthony Calfo change their shoes on the track following practice at Crespi High. COVID-19 restrictions prevent the players from using the locker room.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Culver City High School

Culver City players have their temperature checked before the first practice.
Culver City players have their temperature checked before the first practice.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Culver City High holds its first official football practice after an 11-month shutdown.
Culver City High holds its first official football practice after an 11-month shutdown.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Quarterbacks and receivers at Culver City High School work on drills its first official football practice.
Quarterbacks and receivers at Culver City High work on drills in its first official football practice after an 11-month stoppage.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Culver City High football players stretch in pairs six feet apart during the first official football practice.
Culver City High football players stretch in pairs six feet apart during the first official football practice.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Culver City starting quarterback Zevi Eckhaus runs drills at the first official football practice
Culver City starting quarterback Zevi Eckhaus runs drills with teammates.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Culver City quarterback Zevi Eckhaus and other players are masked up during the first official football practice.
Culver City quarterback Zevi Eckhaus and other players are masked up during the first official football practice.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Culver City players wear masks during practice.
Culver City players wear masks during practice.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

More visual journalism from the photography staff of the Los Angeles Times