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What will high school football look like in the fall? - HIGHSCORE
What will high school football look like in the fall?
North Carolina and Rhode Island conclude the highly unusual 2020-21 high school football season with championships this weekend. Once those states are a wrap, attention will shift to the fall with plenty of questions and speculation about what exactly that will look like across the country.

Without another major surge in COVID-19 numbers, prep football in the fall should look all but identical to pre-2020 according to most state associations and federations. How many fans will be in attendance is still very much up in the air.

"Assuming everything continues as is, we plan a full and regular school year of education-based athletics in 2021-22, including football," California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Ron Nocetti said. "We'll know more about fan allowance as we get closer to our start dates."

A good number of states already — 35 of the 50 — powered through with football last fall (Vermont played touch and not tackle) and all but four of those states held state championships. Alaska, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin stopped short of championship games due to the pandemic.

To get to the fall finish line took much resolve. That may have been exemplified best by Michigan, which first moved football to the spring, then back to the fall only to delay the season 42 days starting in November due to surging COVID-19 numbers. The state eventually crowned 10 champions by Jan. 23.

The states that completed fall seasons are ready and eager to go, just tweaking pandemic protocols which will likely be loosened significantly from 2020.

"Hopefully we're getting closer and closer to normal as possible," De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) coach Justin Alumbaugh said. "We'd be naive to think it's going back completely to old times. We still need to address locker room issues. And testing needs to be more streamlined and easier. There surely is a lot more administrative work on coaches than there used to be."

California is one of the 11 states that played its 2020 season in the spring of 2021. Of those states, only three played for state titles. All spring teams have trickier off-seasons than normal with summer conditioning only a few weeks away.

Of the four states that didn't play a down of tackle football in 2020-21, Hawaii is the only one to hold spring scrimmages, including one last week between perennial state powers St. Louis (Honolulu) and Punahou (Honolulu). It took three days for St. Louis to complete 150 COVID-19 tests, all which came back negative, according to its coach. 

"We got to see all the young guys play and seniors got to play and wrap up their year," St. Louis coach Ron Lee told Paul Honda of Hawaii Prep World. "Kids are so happy we had this. I feel sorry for other schools that didn't have what we did, being out there with their friends. They were having fun. They've learned how to handle disappointment."

St. Louis will meet Kamehameha Kapalama (Honolulu) this week in another scrimmage, which indicates a green light for an Aug. 6 start date for the fall season. That would put Hawaii in the leadoff spot, like normal, for the 2021 fall season.

Utah took those reins last season, kicking off the 2020 season on Aug. 13. The season went largely unscathed, finishing off with five state championship games in late November. With its entire schedule planned for 2021, including another Aug. 13 opening, Utah once again has its foot firmly on the floor board.
Crimson Cliffs helped Utah kick off the 2020 season with an opening game against Manti.
File photo by Adam Cartwright
Crimson Cliffs helped Utah kick off the 2020 season with an opening game against Manti.
Like many states, Utah is seeing significant realignment, including the re-addition of 1A football, giving it six classifications. It's also seeing a larger-than-normal turnover at the top with 16 new head coaches in the state, according to the Utah Desert News.

That national trend is likely residue of burnout from navigating through the pandemic, coaches say.

"It seems like (2020) never really started or really ended," said Alumbaugh, whose six-game season ended April 17.

Said Nocetti: "So much more is being put on the plate of these coaches. I would hope that communities would be even more supportive and appreciative of high school coaches during this time. They need it. That's the only way they will continue to stay longer."

The passion for football is never going away in Texas.

Spring football is back in the Lone Star State after being canceled in 2020. The University Interscholastic League allows 18 spring training practices over 34 days, giving teams the opportunity for scrimmages or even a spring game. Programs still must follow the UIL's own risk mitigation guidelines, but things may be loosening in areas concerning specific mask mandates and dressing room policies.

Some of the larger schools, which had regular seasons moved back a month, moved back their spring workouts. Others, like defending Class 5A-I champion Ryan (Denton), opted out of spring ball completely. All of that points to the fall season starting right on time and looking back to normal.

On Wednesday, the UIL also sent a release that summer marching band and strength and conditioning activities may begin immediately following the end of the 2020-21 school year.
Westlake quarterback Cade Klubnik will help his team defend a Texas 6A-I championship in 2021.
File photo by Sean Roach
Westlake quarterback Cade Klubnik will help his team defend a Texas 6A-I championship in 2021.
Other state updates:

* Georgia started with a few hiccups to start 2020, but primarily proceeded as normal. The 2021 season is aligned as previous years: Teams are allowed one spring and one fall scrimmage (or two in the fall), acclimation period begins July 26 and first day of practice in pads is Aug. 2, first games are Aug. 20 and playoffs begin Nov. 12.

* In Florida, beyond massive new districts, regions and reclassifications for 2021, the state's football season should look much like 2019 and prior. The playoff system returns to district play for teams in Class 5A through 8A.

* In Tennessee, the TSSAA board voted to allow summer team camps and the return of 7-on-7 football, as long as COVID-19 protocols are in place. Those activities had been suspended since the pandemic began. The state's high school sports governing body also changed its state championship venue for two seasons to Chattanooga's Finley Stadium, which seats 22,000, Concerns over locker room space and use — with so many games — were addressed and dismissed.

* In Ohio, a positive was gleaned from adjustments to the pandemic — increasing its playoff format. Last fall, the OHSAA allowed every team to enter the playoffs due to the shortened season. It was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback, according to OHSAA executive director Doug Ute. Thus it expanded its playoff qualifiers in 2021, from pre-2020 season, to 16 schools per region.
North Carolina high school basketball players adjusting to mask mandate - HIGHSCORE
North Carolina high school basketball players adjusting to mask mandate
Issued by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on Nov. 23, Executive Order No. 180 called for expanded face covering requirements. That has trickled down to high school sports, with athletes being required to wear masks during games and skill development sessions whether they are held indoor or outdoor.

The order went into effect Nov. 25 and runs through Dec. 11. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Servies, it requires that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining six feet of distance, gyms even when exercising, all schools public and private and all public or private transportation when traveling with people outside of the household.

Basketball practice is scheduled to begin Dec. 7 for NCHSAA-affiliated programs but the NCISAA tipped off last month and has already started to adapt to the new norm for the 2020-21 season in the Tar Heel State.

MaxPreps photographer Matthew Plyler was on hand Monday for a masked-up matchup between Northwood Temple Academy (Fayetteville) met Berean Baptist Academy (Fayetteville). Northwood Temple Academy won 69-68.
Brady Rankin of Northwood Temple Academy drives during Monday's games against Berea Baptist Academy.
Photo by Matthew Plyler
Brady Rankin of Northwood Temple Academy drives during Monday's games against Berea Baptist Academy.
"Kids are resilient," Charlotte Country Day head coach David Carrier told the Charlotte Observer. "Kids adjust to things like this a lot quicker than adults."

The order extends to delayed NCHSAA fall sports that got underway in November like cross country and volleyball. The state reported 5,410 new COVID-19 cases Thursday with 44 deaths.

"We are asking our coaches, student-athletes and administrators for their continued vigilance and cooperation in these measures, including making sure to properly socially distance during skill development sessions and adherence to the mask mandate," NCHSAA executive director Que Tucker told the Lake Norman Media Group. "We all must do our part."

On the girls basketball side, Faith Christian Academy (Goldsboro) and Raleigh Christian Academy (Raleigh) were among the first to take the court Tuesday under the new order. MaxPreps photographer Steven Worthy was there to capture that moment.
Faith Christian Academy takes the floor for a Tuesday game against Raleigh Christian Academy.
Photo by Steven Worthy
Faith Christian Academy takes the floor for a Tuesday game against Raleigh Christian Academy.



Sara Puckett named 2020-21 HIGHSCORE Alabama High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year - HIGHSCORE
Sara Puckett named 2020-21 MaxPreps Alabama High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

Sara Puckett of Muscle Shoals is the 2020-21 MaxPreps Alabama High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2 forward averaged 21.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game despite being the focus of opposing defenses, helping the Trojans go 15-10.

Puckett's shooting range and defensive versatility made her a tough matchup for other post players, and her ability close to the basket at both ends of the floor made her even more difficult to contend with.

A Tennessee signee, Puckett is rated the 43rd best prospect in the Class of 2021 by ESPN Hoopgurlz.

Each state's MaxPreps Player of the Year will be considered for inclusion in the MaxPreps All-America Team.
HIGHSCORE/AVCA Players of the Week - HIGHSCORE
MaxPreps/AVCA Players of the Week
MaxPreps/AVCA Players of the Week
For the week of Mar. 29 - Apr. 4

Boys

Midwest Region
(Includes: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)

6'6 | Senior | MH
7 Games Played
Kills: 32
Kills/Game: 4.57
Digs: 18
Digs/Game: 2.57
Aces: 2
Blocks: 14

Junior | S
7 Games Played
Assists: 72
Assists/Game: 10.286
Team Hitting%: 0.144
Digs: 8
Digs/Game: 1.14
Aces: 4

Northeast Region
(Includes: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington D.C.)

Senior | S
6 Games Played
Assists: 63
Assists/Game: 10.50
Team Hitting%: 0.402
Digs: 7
Digs/Game: 1.17
Aces: 1
Blocks: 4

6'1 | Senior | OH/MH
6 Games Played
Kills: 31
Kills/Game: 5.17
Digs: 16
Digs/Game: 2.67
Receptions: 26
Rcpt/Game: 4.33
Aces: 2
Blocks: 2

South Region
(Includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas)

Senior | S
7 Games Played
Assists: 73
Assists/Game: 10.43
Team Hitting%: 0.286
Digs: 16
Digs/Game: 2.29
Aces: 3
Blocks: 2

6'3 | Junior | MB
8 Games Played
Kills: 34
Kills/Game: 4.25
Digs: 2
Aces: 1
Blocks: 16

West Region
(Includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

Senior | S/OPP/OH
11 Games Played
Kills: 41
Kills/Game: 3.73
Digs: 22
Digs/Game: 2.00
Aces: 14
Blocks: 6

6'8 | Senior | RS
9 Games Played
Kills: 43
Kills/Game: 4.78
Digs: 21
Digs/Game: 2.33
Receptions: 1
Aces: 9
Blocks: 5
High school baseball: Teams with the most state championships - HIGHSCORE
High school baseball: Teams with the most state championships
It's been 34 seasons since Tucson won an Arizona state baseball championship, and the Badgers have won only won four since 1957. Yet, Tucson has heads MaxPreps list of teams with the most high school baseball championships.

The Badgers won their first state title in 1912, but the greatest stretch of sustained excellence for Tucson came between 1939 and 1956. During that 18-year period, Tucson won 15 state crowns, including eight in a row from 1939 to 1946. The greatest Tucson team, however, might be the 1972 team that went 25-0. Tucson has rebounded to appear in the Class 5A state finals in 2018 and 2019, finishing as the runner-up each time.

Woodrow Wilson (Washington, D.C.) is closing in on Tucson and might have tied the Badgers by now if not for COVID. Wilson has won every DCIAA championship since 1993 and it would have been the favorite in 2020 and 2021. Wilson plays in an association with just 15 schools.

Asher (Okla.) is one of three schools tied with 22 state championships. That total is actually a bit misleading since Asher has won a total of 45 baseball championships. However only 22 of them have come in the spring. With no football program, Asher also plays baseball in the fall and has racked up 23 championships during that season as well.

Other teams with 22 championships include Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.) and Jackson Prep (Miss.).

The championships listed are based on information found on state association websites. Not all state websites had complete lists of past champions. MaxPreps also included independent and private school championships, including TAPPS in Texas, the MAIS in Mississippi and the NCISAA in North Carolina.

Past champion lists were unavailable for AISA in Alabama, the SCISA in South Carolina and the VISAA in Virginia. California is not included because it does not hold state championships in baseball (although a few championships seasons were held in the 1920s.). The Inter-AC in Pennsylvania is also not included, although Penn Charter holds the record there with 46 championships dating back to the late 1800s. Corrections or additions, please contact Kevin Askeland at [email protected]
Bingham celebrates its 2013 Utah state title, one of 21 won by the school.
File photo by Christian Wininger
Bingham celebrates its 2013 Utah state title, one of 21 won by the school.
Schools with most baseball state titles

1.   29 — Tucson High Magnet School (Tucson, Ariz.)
2.   27 — Wilson (Washington, D.C.)
3.   22 — Asher (Okla.)
3.   22 — Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.)
3.   22 — Jackson Prep (Jackson, Miss.)
6.   21 — Bingham (South Jordan, Utah)
7.   20 — Gloucester Catholic (Gloucester City, N.J.)
7.   20 — Jesuit (New Orleans, La.)
7.   20 — Norway (Iowa), closed 1991, now Benton (Van Horne, Iowa)
10. 19 — DeSales (Walla Walla, Wash.)
10. 19 — St. Mary's-Colgan (Pittsburg, Kan.)
12. 17 — Eunice (N.M.)
12. 17 — Northfield (Vt.)
14. 16 — Long (Skipperville, Ala.)
14. 16 — St. David (Ariz.)
16. 15 — Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg, S.C.)
16. 15 — Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, N.C.)
16. 15 — Silver Lake (Kan.)
19. 14 — Bangor (Maine)
19. 14 — Farmington (N.M.)
19. 14 — Proctor (Vt.)
19. 14 — Punahou (Honolulu)
19. 14 — St. Mark's (Wilmington, Del.)
24. 13 — Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)
24. 13 — Hicks (Leesville, La.)
24. 13 — Owasso (Okla.)
24. 13 — West Lauderdale (Collinsville, Miss.)
24. 13 — Winooski (Vt.)

12 state championships
Assumption (Davenport, Iowa)
Burlington (Vt.)
Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.)
Deering (Portland, Maine)
Elder (Cincinnati)
Jefferson (Shenandoah Junction, W. Va.)
Lewiston (Idaho)
Nashua South (Nashua, N.H.)
Pitkin (La.)
Portsmouth (N.H.)

11 state championships
Bishop Ward (Kansas City, Kan.)
Byng (Ada, Okla.)
Carlsbad (N.M.)
Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.)
Dale (Okla.)
Davenport Central (Davenport, Iowa)
Eaton (Colo.)
Enterprise (Utah)
Kee (Lansing, Iowa)
Key West (Fla.)
Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.)
Tottenville (Staten Island, N.Y.)
St. Pius X (Albuquerque)
Waterford (Conn.)
Westminster Christian (Miami)

10 state championships
Albuquerque (N.M.)
Arundel (Gambrills, Md.)
Barbe (Lake Charles, La.)
Bishop England (Charleston, S.C.)
Brattleboro (Vt.)
Cape Elizabeth (Maine)
Churchill County (Fallon, Nev.)
Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Gastonia (N.C.)
Lincoln County (Panaca, Nev.)
Parkview Baptist (Baton Rouge, La.)
Pine Bluff (Ark.)
Poly Prep Country Day (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Revere (Ovid, Colo.)
St. Paul (Shiner, Texas)
Silo (Okla.)
Sweet Water (Ala.)
Taylorsville (Utah)