SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Santa Cruz County is one of the 27 counties allowed to resume outdoor, high-contact sports competitions for school, youth and recreational adult sports.

The state health officials say counties may resume if coronavirus case rates for those counties are at or below 14 per 100,000 people.

“The fact that the door is open for these kids to play football is just great news,” said Jesse Trumbull, Santa Cruz High School coach.

Trumbull is glad to hear that student athletes can return to compete, especially high school seniors. This morning he received text messages from his students wanting to know what the new rules meant.

“To be able to text them and say hey this looks very realistically this is going to happen,” said Trumbull. “We still gotta work these last few details. That’s pretty special.”

Trumbull said they’ve been able to have some practices. But the goal was to make sure they were being safe and following the health and safety guidelines. Now he’s glad that their patience is paying off.  

“Now they’re gonna get a chance to compete a little bit,” said Trumbull. “It would be a short season. They’re gonna have to test. They’re going to have to do it on top of passing their classes and all of the great things that come with high school athletes. But they’re going to get to see different color uniform on a Friday night and there’s nothing more special than that.”

The first logistic concern he has is how to effectively test every high school athlete. Because football is a high contact sport, coaches and student athletes will need to be tested weekly. He hopes the county, state and school district will help. Game day logistics also need to be figured out, he said.

“How does that look,” said Trumbull. “Officials, fans, travel? Who can be at the games with us? What does our staff look like? All of this stuff that kind of just happens in the course of a regular season has to be reevaluated.”

Testing is not required for younger players. For example, Pajaro Valley Little League baseball has players age 5 TO 12. League President Shannon Candelario said she’s been waiting anxiously for the new guidelines not only because of her position but because she also has a son in high school waiting to play. The League is expected to have tryouts next week and is hoping to begin practice in about 3 weeks. This is a good thing for both the community and kids, Candelario said.

“You just see it in them you see that they miss their friends so I think that for them,” said Candelario. “Being out in the sunshine and being able to laugh and play. Be with their friends. It’s going to be so good for them both emotionally and physically that the rewards are going to be boundless.”