Sweetwater vs. Loudon (copy)

The Wildcats’ offense lines up for a play as the Redskins’ defense readies during Sweetwater’s game against Loudon on Friday, Oct. 18.

After months of waiting and worry, the fate of high school football and girls soccer finally looks bright.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced July 28 that he will sign Executive Order 55, which will include TSSAA member schools in an exception to contact sports restrictions. With the order, prep football and girls soccer seasons will be able to begin their seasons on time.

Lee officially signed the order later in the week.

Girls soccer teams can begin contact practices, and football teams will be permitted to practice in full equipment after completing a heat acclimation period, which they were allowed to begin July 20.

“We appreciate being able to work with Gov. Lee and his staff on this,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said in a release. “I am pleased that we were able to develop some very specific guidelines for every sport that will allow our kids to get out on their fields and fully participate in football and girls’ soccer this fall.”

TSSAA member schools will still have to follow the requirements and regulations adopted by the TSSAA Board of Control on July 22.

“Children across the state are counting on us — school administrators and coaches — to proceed with practices and competitions safely while being very mindful of the requirements and modifications that we have put in place,” Childress said.

“Our return to play is a partnership, and it’s important for everyone to do their part.”

There will be no changes to the 2020 football schedule, as the Board’s contingency plan prohibited game rescheduling if contact practice could resume before Aug. 4. Football games can officially begin Aug. 21, and the state championships will be held in Cookeville Dec. 3-5.

Girls soccer matches can officially begin on Aug. 17, and the state championships will be held Oct. 28-31 in Murfreesboro.

“This is good news for many kids and their families,” Childress said, “but the reality is that the virus will continue to be with us and we have to be smart about taming the spread.

“Every adult and every participant in every sport must do their part and follow the guidelines set forth by TSSAA and the Governor’s office to help mitigate these risks.”

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