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Prep football will be affected by CCSD decision, coach says

One of the most amazing prep football teams in Southern Nevada history was the 1944 Las Vegas High squad that went undefeated and unscored upon. This was during World War II and gasoline rationing that forced the Wildcats to ride to games — including one in San Bernardino, California — in the back of pickup trucks.

Which, all of a sudden, doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea.

The Clark County School District announced Tuesday that all remaining nonconference games on the fall sports schedules have been canceled because there aren’t enough bus drivers.

The decision mostly impacts girls volleyball, with 29 matches having being eliminated. A few soccer games also have been scuttled.

It is presumed varsity football, which this week begins its league season, will not be affected.

But moving freshman and junior varsity football games to Saturday will have a bigger impact than one might think, especially if CCSD follows through on a plan to play multiple doubleheaders at common sites.

Pressed for time

If transportation is the issue, but half the bus drivers needed for the regularly scheduled freshman and JV games during the school week are available, “Why don’t we move half the games to Saturday? Because then you’re only inconveniencing teams for half of the remaining games,” Centennial coach Dustin Forshee said.

Forshee said the Bulldogs’ freshman and JV teams played Saturday last week and “although it wasn’t ideal, it worked out.” But he and other coaches now say that four teams will be asked to play at a central location when necessary.

“If half were able to stay home, we’d still be able to play in the morning,” Forshee said. “But they’re going to have four games at Chaparral on Saturday, and Chaparral is going to play whoever they’re going to play, and then our JV team has to play at 2 o’clock.

“If Desert Pines had a freshman team, our freshmen would have played at 2 o’clock and our JV at 4:30. So your whole weekend is shot.”

Forshee said high school football coaches are used to making sacrifices. That’s why they spend 60 to 70 hours coaching during the school week for a modest stipend.

“(But) now let’s do it for another eight to 10 hours,” he said of Saturday freshman and JV games. “And, oh, by the way, we’re not doing it in the morning or the evening so you have time to hang out with your family. Let’s do it right in the middle of the day.”

It seems as if every day with COVID presents a new hardship for the kids and a new challenge for the adults in the room. Especially the ones at CCSD headquarters.

Help wanted: Ticket-takers

Last week, it was moving the starting time of Friday night varsity games ahead one hour to 6 p.m., though Forshee said that was done because of safety concerns. District officials did not specifically address the reason for the move (or respond to queries for this column).

The 6 p.m. kickoffs were announced after an incident involving a fight and gunfire in the parking lot at a Desert Oasis game. Coaches generally are OK with the 6 p.m. starts, Forshee said.

“But from what I understand, it wasn’t a majority of people who wanted to do these day-long events,” he said of playing multiple freshman and JV doubleheaders at common sites.

Forshee agreed that you don’t need as many ticket-takers if a bunch of games are played at one site. But now you need them all day.

“Who wants to be a ticket-taker for 12 hours?” he said in the understatement of the week. “You’re still going to have school district police, but now instead of six hours, they have to be there for 12. And because three teams have to travel, you’re using three buses (and drivers) instead of two.”

Forshee said you’re not reducing the amount of people needed for game-day operations, with one possible exception.

“The janitors who unlock the bathrooms. Now they’re only going to have to do it at one school instead of two,” he said.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.