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St. Vincent begins modified football conditioning

Practice looks different, but St. Vincent de Paul High School put football players on the school’s artificial turf Wednesday afternoon, becoming one of the first schools in Sonoma County to begin conditioning.

“We’re taking every precaution and trying to follow every guideline,” said St. Vincent head coach Trent Herzog. He said the practice had near unanimous approval of the players’ parents.

Austin Bosarge, an attorney who designed the program, said the St. Vincent protocals incorporate National Federation of High School Athletics, California Interscholastic Federation and county guidelines. “We designed it (the plan) with an abundance of caution that will still get the kids back on the playing field,” he said.

The practice includes conditioning, weight training, speed training and skill drills.

There is no blocking and tackling – no physical contact of any kind – in the Mustang practices. Players are divided into 10-player “pods” they will remain in through the entire training period that will run three weeks.

Herzog said two coaches will be assigned to each pod and will remain with those pods throughout the conditioning. Pods are halved for weight training with only five players allowed in the weight room at any one time. All equipment is cleaned and sanitized as each player completes his workout.

During skill drills, each running back is assigned his own football and will use that football exclusively during all practices. No passing is yet allowed.

Before each practice begins, players are checked for temperature and asked questions about their physical condition specific for Covid 19 symptoms .

Masks are required whenever players are inside, but are optional for outside activities.

See the St. Vincent protocols here:

SVHS Return to Participation Guide - Final 061620.pdf

The practices are not mandatory, and the players, starved for physical activity and contact with their teammates, even distance contact, have been enthusiastic.

“It felt awesome,” said Cameron Vaughn after the first day’s work out.

Carter Pace said he wasn’t overly concerned about the possibility of being infected. “I feel pretty safe with all the precautions we’re taking,” he said.

The CIF has set July 20 as the cutoff date for determining when, and if, the football season will start, but regardless of that decision, St. Vincent officials are determined to play football barring orders from the county or state.

St. Vincent is scheduled to join the North Bay League Redwood this season after playing the last two years as an independent.

Herzog said that, if that isn’t possible, St. Vincent has been in contact with other private schools to discuss the possibility of scheduling games among themselves.

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