PIAA savors fall season completed against all odds
Monday, November 30, 2020 | 7:55 PM
There was cause to celebrate, but PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi probably didn’t spike the football or exchange high-fives after the state championships finished Saturday night.
A high school football season that seemed doomed from the start, a season opposed by no less than the governor himself, made it all the way to Hershey.
“I said repeatedly that the biggest mistake we could have made was not to try,” he said. “And by trying, we end up here on Thanksgiving weekend done with fall sports because a whole lot of people did a whole lot of things right.”
The season was challenging for many PIAA teams and included a number of individual shutdowns after players or coaches tested positive. Many of those who’d objected to football season were particularly concerned about virus spread between opposing teams. Lombardi noted that by all accounts, that wasn’t an issue.
“We still have yet to find any transmission from an athlete on one team to another team,” Lombardi said. “We have yet to see that. I’m not saying it’s not out there, but we haven’t had any reports, so that’s a positive.”
That’s especially true now, as the PIAA turns its attention to winter sports. The PIAA board meets Dec. 9, two days before regular-season contests are scheduled to begin.
“I’m not anticipating a delay,” Lombardi said. “I think right now the sentiment is to get whatever you can in a measured, systematic, step-by-step approach. Similar to what we’ve done in the fall.”
Basketball players, wrestlers, swimmers and all other winter-sport athletes were allowed to begin practice Nov. 20. However, rising coronavirus cases across the state are cause for concern.
“Everybody is keeping an eye on the sky with what’s going on and what’s being reported — and that’s troublesome,” Lombardi said. “But with that being said, I hope schools will at least give their winter teams the opportunity to start practice and put people in a bubble.”
Lombardi was particularly concerned with schools that already have pushed their preseason practices to January. For example, Highlands postponed all sports activities until Jan. 15.
“You get away from now, which isn’t terrific, to the heart of flu season,” Lombardi said. “I wouldn’t be in favor of that, but everybody has to do what’s best in their local community.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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