Friday’s news on outdoor youth sports is a ‘big step in the right direction’

Local Sports

FRESNO, Calif. — On Friday during his press conference, Governor Gavin Newsom gave the green light to outdoor youth sports.

“We are now confident with new guidelines we’re publishing today that we can get youth sports moving again in the state of California, get competition moving again in the state of California with, as always, caveats,” Newsom said.

Outdoor high school contact sports, can be played in counties in the state’s Purple Tier or Red Tier, but only if the county’s COVID-19 case rate is at or below 14 positive cases per 100,000 people.

Currently, Fresno County is at 22.8 per 100,000, which doesn’t meet the requirement yet.

It’s been an emotional roller coaster ride for players, coaches and parents here in the valley, but this good news has been long-awaited.

“It was a relief,” said senior Sanger quarterback and safety, John Pena. “That’s the best way I can describe it because we’ve been running on hope for so long.”

“It feels good to hear some real words and real progress and we’re really optimistic,” explained Pena. “We’re running on more than hope at this point which is a big step in the right direction.”

His father, Jorge Pena, who is the head football coach at Sanger High School says it’s been an emotional journey.

“It’s been tough emotionally in our house like everyone else’s,” says coach Pena. “So in the last eleven months, we haven’t had a lot of good news.”

He says there may be some tough restrictions, but that doesn’t matter. He’s just ready to get back to competing.

“As long as they didn’t say ‘no football,’ we’re happy,” Pena laughed.

We’re still waiting to hear about indoor youth sports returning to action.

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