After much controversy, the Palm Beach County School District announced that Palm Beach Central High School's football schedule is back on.
The school district says their decision comes after the last player who was quarantined due to COVID-19 concerns was cleared by the Florida Department of Health.
Palm Beach Central High School football players protested outside the school district late Thursday afternoon in hopes to get back on the field for regular season games.
“I’m relying on this. If I don’t play football, I may not be able to go to college. I’m depending on a scholarship, I don’t know what I would do without it," said Palm Beach Central High School Varsity football player Paul Saget.
The Palm Beach County School District canceled the regular football season for Palm Beach Central High School after a COVID-19 outbreak on the team.
Some parents of the players told CBS12 News they feel singled out since other teams that have experienced outbreaks were allowed to play again.
“I had heard of other schools getting the virus, and they were allowed back after everyone was cleared. So I assumed once everyone was cleared, we would be allowed back. Weeks would pass, and they would keep canceling our games, and so that’s why were upset. I did not see this coming at all," said Palm Beach Central High School junior and varsity football player Ben Moss.
On Thursday night at 6 p.m., the school district said Palm Beach Central High School Principal Darren Edgecomb and the football coaches met virtually with students and parents to update them on the school's revised practice and play schedule. On Friday, Principal Edgecomb will meet with the football coaching staff to review their assignments, safety protocols and further discuss the practice schedule.
Then on Friday night, students will receive practice protocol and football information to review electronically over the weekend, according to the school district. This will include check-in procedures and a detailed schedule by position.
Students will start practicing again next week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the school district said. They will take Thanksgiving and Friday off, then return to practice on Saturday, Nov. 28.
Players, parents and coaches told CBS12 News that members of the team want to play in college, and this season means so much to them.
All Palm Beach County School District varsity football teams, including Palm Beach Central, are currently scheduled for three postseason games in December. However, this schedule is subject to change depending on the health and wellness of players and weather conditions.
"Once they’re able to start playing again, I have to believe that they will be playing with some sort of vengeance," said Broncos' football team dad Steve Moss.
As for 17-year-old Saget, he said, "don’t take anything for granted because you never know when it will be taken away. I’m lucky to even have this one game because at any moment this virus can take it all away.”
Below is a transcript of the letter that Principal Edgecomb shared with players and parents on Thursday:
Good Evening Bronco Student-Athletes and Parents,
Let me begin by saying thank you for your continued support of our football program and our student-athletes.
As most of you are aware, I have been working in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health and the School District of Palm Beach County to navigate through the process of re-engagement for our Varsity Football Team.
Please reiterate with your child that the health and safety of each student and staff member remains a top priority. We all play a key role in following the guidelines recommended by the Department of Health and School District. Following these measures we will protect each other and increase the likelihood of our team completing the remainder of the season.
The current plan is to resume light practice on Monday (11/23) and work our way back to full contact prior to our next game. The next game will be scheduled the week we return from the Thanksgiving holiday.
Again, we all play a major role in this successful transition to varsity football. I'm extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity to re-engage. District leadership, the Department of Health, parents, coaches and students all worked together to reach this decision.
I absolutely love and appreciate our amazing student-athletes. They are major contributors to our dynamic school culture. I look forward to seeing each of the players on Monday for practice and will be on the sidelines showing my Bronco Pride at our next game!
Students, you are the most important individuals at our school. Please join me, your parents, and your coaches in making this football season and the entire school year a success! Go Broncos!!
Very Proud Principal,