High school sports, especially football, are as American as apple pie, the Stars and Stripes and sweating out your algebra exam. But the COVID-19 pandemic may be throwing local gridders – and other athletes – for a loss.
Citing the discouraging turns in coronavirus statistics and the resulting “stay at home” order, the Anaheim Union High School District last week announced it was calling an immediate time out on sports as well as visual and performing arts.
Back in July, the CIF-SS (which governs high school sports in most of Southern California, including Orange County) put out a schedule allowing for the first football games to be played in late December and early January.
Will we see that? Southern California has three weeks starting today to make a dent in the infection rate. So, if you want to see the folks in helmets, be certain to wear your mask. And ask your friends and family to do the same.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: After the great expectations that came on the arrival of Chip Kelly at UCLA, the bar is now pretty low after two losing seasons. But hearts are joyful in Westwood after a 25-18 win over Arizona State on Saturday. The win gave the UCLAns a 3-2 mark, a rare winning record for the program. Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 192 yards and a touchdown in the win and ran for 49 yards and another score. They led 17-3 at halftime, then fell behind and had to pull off an 11-play, 75-yard drive to grab the win on a score with 69 seconds on the clock. Next up is the big rivalry game against USC on Dec. 12 at the Rose Bowl.
20th-ranked USC had an unusual Sunday game against Washington State University, but the outcome was predictable. The Trojans (4-0) romped 38-13 after building a 28-0 first quarter lead. QB Kedon Slovis passed for five touchdowns, four of them to Amon-Ra St. Brown. As a consequence of their big win, the team jumped to 16th place in AP football rankings.
NFL: The two Southern California pro teams are headed down separate paths, with the gap between them getting wider. The Los Angeles Rams (8-4) moved into first place in NFC West after a 38-28 win over the Arizona Cardinals (6-6), thanks in part to a 17-12 win by the New York Giants (5-7) over the Seattle Seahawks (8-4). The Los Angeles Chargers (3-9) were thumped by the New England Patriots (6-6) by the margin of 45-0. That loss by the Bolts dropped them into last place in the AFC West. “That was one of the worst football games I’ve ever been a part of in my 30 years in the National Football League as a player and a coach,” said LAC head coach Anthony Lynn. It’s already looking like a lost season, and a likely last season for Lynn. As a general rule, last place finishes do not end well for the man in charge.
The Chargers will try to get on track next week hosting the Atlanta Falcons (4-8) while the Rams host the New England Patriots (6-6) in the Thursday game.
Around the league: Who’ll stop the reign of the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-0)? Probably not the Washington Football Team (4-7) in the first of two Monday games. In a change of venue caused by the coronavirus crisis, San Francisco (5-6) will host the Buffalo Bills (8-3) at Glendale, Arizona in the second game.
Sports Monday is posted … you guessed it … on Mondays.