Play ball! Lemoore High School sports teams set to take the field once again. Tigers open football season March 19 at Sanger

By Ed Martin, Editor
It appears that due to falling COVID-19 cases, many California schools, including Lemoore will again field sports teams. However, despite these roaring fans, only immediate family members will be allowed into sporting events.
It appears that due to falling COVID-19 cases, many California schools, including Lemoore will again field sports teams. However, despite these roaring fans, only immediate family members will be allowed into sporting events.
Gary Feinstein/

Lemoore sports enthusiasts haven’t had much to cheer about during this once-in-a-century pandemic, a global catastrophe that worldwide has caused 2.62 million deaths, including over 500,000 fatalities in the United States.

The pandemic has also taken a toll on area schools, forcing students into awkward schedules and online learning, hardly the kind of instruction that benefits the typical elementary or high school student.

 It has also decimated – for the most part – local sporting events, thanks to the hold placed months ago on high school sports by the Central Section CIF and California health officials.

However, as of this week, a ray of sunshine has appeared through the gloom of Coronavirus. According to Lemoore High School Athletic Director Brady Holaday, Lemoore High School is back in the game – so to speak – as are many Central Section schools.

The Tigers will play their first football game at Sanger High on March 19, following a week later (March 26)  by a home game in Tiger Stadium against Hanford West. On April 1, San Joaquin Memorial visits and will be followed by Tulare Western (April 9) and Hanford on April 16, all home games.

See Lemoore High School’s sports schedules at

The spring sports revival is limited to varsity teams only. There won’t be any junior varsity or freshmen contests. Local teams can only compete against schools from an adjacent county and for Lemoore, which includes Fresno, Tulare, Kern, and San Luis Obispo counties.

Aside from some immediate family members, fans will not be allowed to witness local sporting events. “Right now, our sporting events are not open to the public. The only fans we’re allowed to have at our sporting events are immediate household family members only,” said Holaday.

Finally, there won’t be any league championships, but the Tigers will host Hanford High School in the annual Milk Can Game – a contest for the ages and one that will certainly be remembered.

The only Kings County school not to participate in football was Sierra Pacific High School.

Technically, Kings County, as is much of the state during COVID-19, remains purple, which as of March 9, means the coronavirus is widespread in California. In fact, a glance at the state’s map reveals a purple-dominated state. Technically, the only sports allowed include cross country, golf, skiing, snowboarding, swimming& diving, tennis, and track, and field.

However, according to Lemoore’s athletic director, the CIF and local counties gave the go-ahead to athletics only if the COVID-19 case rates drop below 14 per 100,000 population. “You can play the red and orange tier sports in the purple tier as long as your adjusted case rates drop below 14 per 100,000,” said Holaday, who has been busy finding teams to play.

“Kings is at 11.9 Tuesday morning,” he said, meaning that local high schools can resume many sporting events.

“We’re doing all outdoor sports except volleyball and water polo. You can resume high to moderate sports,” added Holaday.

According to state health officials, COVID-19 cases are far below last year’s peak. The death toll is falling too, as are hospitalizations. The immediate future appears even brighter as more vaccines arrive in the Golden State. Currently, 18.3 percent of the population has had at least one dose.

There won’t be any league champions. Visalia Unified may not bring football back. “We had to go out and find five teams that wanted to play,” said Lemoore’s athletic director.

Several other sports teams are slated to hit the fields or courts this spring, including baseball and softball. “Baseball has a full schedule. Their first game is not until March 23. We’ll play Hanford West at home,” said Brady. He also said the MaxPreps website, which lists all high school sporting events, is up to date.

“Our first softball game is at home on March 23 against Tulare Union.”

So far, the only local team to actively compete inscross country. The local runners competed at Hanford Wednesday (March 10). The team’s first meet was on Feb. 10. Next Wednesday (March 17), the WYL championships will be in Hanford. The Tigers held their first meet on Feb. 10.

The girls' golf team played its first match away on Tuesday, March 9, at Tulare Western.

Other teams to hold contests include boys’ and girls’ golf, boys’ and girls’ soccer, and swimming. The school’s cheerleading squads are also up and running.

Comments powered by Disqus