Teams prepare for upcoming football seasons

Team members  of the Crossett Eagles athletics program practice for the upcoming football season. The Arkansas Activities Association announced Friday that the high school football season would move forward. (VAL GAUGHT/News Observer)

The Arkansas Activities Association announced on Friday that there will be a high school football season for Arkansas high schools.

Previously, concerns about how to best conduct sports during the COVID-19 pandemic had led the organization to delay an announcement about when the season would be, if it happened at all.

That changed Friday, however, and a news release from the AAA said, “After the governor’s announcement, we have been given the approval to proceed according to the 2020-2021 AAA calendar and  handbook regarding practice and competition for all sports.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Friday that he had appointed 14 physicians, mental health professionals, coaches and educators to form a High School Sports Advisory Group, which would be tasked with determining the safest way to allow athletic competition to move forward during the 2020-2021 school year.

“The Department of Health will continue its responsibility to provide health guidelines, and this group of experts will serve in an advisory capacity to look specifically at how we can have fall sports in the safest manner possible,” Hutchinson said Friday. “We want to consider every angle to protect our athletes, cheerleaders and band members.

“My message for the football players on Monday is to grab your helmet for practice and then after practice, grab a mask. Because our responsibility for safety extends beyond the practice field.”

Ashley County’s teams are currently practicing with the first games to start at the end of August. 

The Hamburg Lions will travel to Ashdown on Aug. 28 and the Crossett Eagles will travel to Osceola  on Aug. 29. 

The Eagles’ first home game will be Sept. 4 when they host the Magnolia Panthers. The Lions will be off the first week of September but will play at home on Sept. 11 when they host Camden Fairview. 

Coaches said any donations of hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes will be welcomed by either team. 

Guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control recommend that the sanitizer be at least 60 percent alcohol and that Clorox and Lysol brands protect against COVID-19 better than other brands.

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