High school sports

It’s back but not quite the same

FANS – in limited numbers – are now allowed in high school football games (Orange County Tribune photo).

Like a wide receiver trying to get open in the end zone, navigating just what’s allowed in high school sports is a moving target.

As the worst of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be abating, we are seeing the slow return of prep athletics.

Of course, at first, all interscholastic sports were pushed aside in the interest of public health measures.

Finally, in the last few weeks – almost a year from the declaration of a crisis – what used to be fall sports (now termed Season 1) got underway. The most visible sport is football, and initially cheerleaders, bands, etc. were banned.

Those restrictions have been lifted and we shall see if the limit on spectators  – members of the players’ immediate family, no more than four – is liberalized as well.

Although some form of league play is surviving, playoffs have been nixed because of the complications of teams from counties with different tiers of COVID-19 status playing each other.

Season 2 sports are beginning and the prospects for playoffs and CIF-SS championships look brighter, with a decision expected by April 13.

Los Al vs. Edison the top game

Although every football game is precious to the players, coaches and fans of the teams on the field, each week there’s one matchup that stands out.

This Friday it will be Edison (2-0) at Los Alamitos (2-0) in a Sunset League clash that matches the county’s fifth- and seventh-ranked squads. This could be the game that determines the Sunset League title.

Last week the Chargers defeated Newport Harbor 47-14 as Braeden Boyles passed for 441 yards and four touchdowns.  Los Alamitos outlasted Corona del Mar 52-28 in a shootout at the Griffin field. Malachi Nelson threw four touchdown passes, three of them in the third quarter for the win.

Another crucial contest could be Thursday’s game between Rancho Alamitos and Loara at Glover Stadium in LaPalma Park in Anaheim. Those teams look like the strongest in the Garden Grove League.

Here’s the schedule for prep football games this weekend involving schools that serve our cities of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton and Westminster. Matchups, times and locations can sometimes change without notice. Unless otherwise noted, game times are 7 p.m.


  • Rancho Alamitos (2-0) at Loara (1-0) at Glover Stadium
  • Laguna Beach (1-0) at Marina (1-1) at Boswell Field/Westminster High


  • Edison (2-0) at Los Alamitos (2-0)
  • Pacifica (1-1) at Tustin (1-1)
  • Orange (2-0) at Estancia (1-1)
  • Huntington Beach (2-0) at Corona del Mar (1-1) at Newport Harbor High
  • Los Amigos (0-1) vs. Santiago (0-1) at Monsoor Stadium/Garden Grove High
  • Savanna (1-0) at Western (1-0)
  • Garden Grove (1-1) at Westminster (0-1)


  • La Quinta (0-1) at Bolsa Grande (1-0), 1 p.m.

And that’s not all …

Football isn’t the only sport in our high school world.

Some softball action is underway. La Quinta defeated Century 14-1 in its season opener. Aztec catcher Xochitl Esparza walked, singled, tripled, scored two runs and drove in three more. Thalina Niang walked, singled, doubled, scored twice and stole a base.

Our “Prep Sports” column is posted on Tuesdays during the high school athletic year. Send scores, photos, rosters, story ideas to us at orangecountytribune@gmail.com .



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