Fires in Santa Rosa

Because of the smoke from the Wine Country fires raging in the North Bay, the Blossom Valley Athletic League cancelled all games through last weekend, affecting two big football games and forcing Live Oak and Sobrato to adjust.

Live Oak was forced to move its homecoming game to this week’s game against Santa Teresa.

“I wouldn’t want be the one to make that decision,” said Live Oak football coach and athletic director Mike Gemo. “It was a tough decision, but they did what they felt was best for the safety of the student athletes.”

Sobrato lost its Saturday game against Evergreen Valley in a matchup of two unbeaten teams vying for a claim at a West Valley Division title.

“Lot of the guys were a little frustrated to not get an opportunity to get on the grass and play last week,” said Sobrato Coach Tony Holmes. “They were looking forward to solidifying a spot at the top of the division. They don’t want to share it and were very eager to play. There were some hurt feelings last week because of the circumstances.”

Holmes said he lost a day of practice anyway because he had given his team Monday off following a tough game the week before. After a day of practice on Tuesday, Wednesday got washed out because of the smoke in the air. Then with Thursday’s announcement that games were cancelled, Sobrato was unable to practice Thursday and Friday.

The Bulldogs tried to get time in the indoor gym to workout, and they had some film time.

Initially, the BVAL said no makeups would be scheduled for any of the sports, including volleyball, water polo, cross country, tennis and golf.

Part of this was due to scheduling constraints involving the start of playoffs. But as a result of the BVAL canceling games, the Peninsula Athletic League following suit and the West Catholic Athletic League deciding to move games until the following Monday, the Central Coast Section stepped in to give the football teams a chance to make up the missing games.

CCS ruled in an emergency meeting that it will extend football’s regular season an extra week and start the playoff games one week later. Instead of the last games being played Nov. 3 and 4, the final games will now conclude the week of Nov. 10.

Playoffs will now begin Nov. 17 and run through the week of Dec. 1 for finals.

Once CCS made its ruling, the BVAL said it will make up its games Nov. 9, to accommodate Veterans Day.

“The kids only have so many high school football games in their career,” Gemo said. “To get one taken away is tough but it’s one that is understandable because of the disaster.”

Live Oak will play Nov. 9, but Sobrato is looking at Nov. 10 or Nov. 11 to make up its game. Because Sobrato doesn’t have permanent lights, the game will have to be played during the day—either during the Nov. 10 observance of Veterans Day when school is out or Saturday, Nov. 11—or the school will have to pay for lights to be brought in.

Holmes said he is in talks with the boosters to bring lights in on Nov. 10, but logistics are still being worked out.

“It was a sigh of relief for the kids,” Holmes said of when they learned the cancelled game will be made up. “We definitely felt a lot better about our situation in the standings.”

Teams in other sports will also be allowed to make up games, provided they can work out a date to host it.

The only hiccup is that not all schools canceled games across the CCS. Teams playing in the Monterey Bay League and the Mission Trail Athletic League still played last week and will now have a bye week heading into the playoffs.

Teams that played in Salinas, Monterey or points south all got their games in. Christopher was the only South Bay team on the field last week, playing in a haze Friday night. Hollister also got a game in against Salinas.

“I believe if one league canceled, they should have done it for everyone so that everybody could be on an even playing field,” Gemo said.

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