D190928 Decatur Lawrence County football

Lawrence County's Richard Dutton on Friday at Ogle Stadium. [DAN BUSEY/DECATUR DAILY]

As of the time of writing this, high school football in Alabama will be returning on July 27. 

That’s the date the AHSAA set for practice to be able to start in preparation for the fall 2020 football season. 

Almost two weeks ago, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey delivered the state’s roadmap to reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year. 

Mackey also answered numerous questions, including those involving extracurricular activities. He stated they plan to have all extracurricular activities this year, including football. 

“That was absolutely a shot in the arm to hear,” said Lawrence County head football coach Rich Dutton. “Obviously we don’t have access to the knowledge that lets us know how everything is going to go. But to hear from someone like Dr. Mackey that there’s a plan for having sports this fall is very encouraging to hear.” 

Local sports teams have been undergoing socially distanced workouts since the beginning of June. Of course there are unprecedented times, so there’s a steep learning curve involved for how to successfully manage the workouts through the guidelines. 

“There’s some things we do well and there’s some things we’re still working on,” Dutton said. “Being a team sport, it can be hard to make sure players keep their distances sometimes.” 

“We have been good about disinfecting all the equipment and making sure that everything is clean,” he continued. “It adds time to the workouts, but so far everyone has been doing a great job with it.” 

Teams will be allowed to start practice on July 27, It was moved up a week this year due to there being no spring ball. 

Of course with case numbers on the rise, there are questions about whether that date will remain intact. 

“Right now our focus is on July 27 unless we hear something else,” said Dutton. “We can’t control what happens so we’re just going to make sure we’re ready for the 27. If that changes then we’ll adjust.” 

Dutton says he expects to hear from the AHSAA within the next week or two regarding the plan for fall sports.

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