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What you need to know as UIL announces Texas high school football schedules

Photo via: Vype.

University Interscholastic League (UIL) recently announced schedules for the 2020 fall football season in Texas.

"With the understanding that not all schools will be able to start at the same time, this plan allows for schools to make playing decisions at the local level, and UIL will work directly with schools that have scheduling issues not addressed in this plan to allow them flexibility to complete as many contests as possible," according to a UIL press release.

Class 5A and 6A programs will notice the most changes. Practices for 5A and 6A schools will begin September 7, and games will kick off September 14. There won't be any changes for Class 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A. Practices will start August 3, and games a week later.

"This plan provides a delay for schools in highly populated metro areas, primarily Class 5A-6A, given the challenges with COVID-19 those communities are facing," according to the UIL statement.

UIL will impose a strict coronavirus screening policy once athletic activities resume. Players, coaches, and staff must undergo a self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before participating in a sport or entering any UIL venue.

Kevin Hall, head coach of the Manvel High School 5A football team, knows that towns across Texas are excited for their local football team to start playing games.

"I can understand why the UIL did what they did. I am just very, very thankful that, as of right now, we are going to play football at all. Let's face it, when you go to towns all over the state of Texas, sports are everyone's common interest." Hall said.

Hall said he is enforcing UIL mandated COVID-19 precautions and will continue to put his players' safety first.

"Our priority is to make sure we are doing our best to stay safe with social distancing and wearing masks. No situation is perfect and we understand that. It is our responsibility as a coaching staff to do what we can do to help eliminate chances of kids getting sick." Hall said.

Hall added that he is aware that a surge in coronavirus among players could put the season at a sudden halt.

"I know things will possibly change through the season, but like I have told our kids through our summer program, I refused to let this virus define our season. It is not going to happen. We are stronger than that, and we are going to take what is thrown at us and come out better on the other end," Hall said.

Andres Gomez, athletic director and head football coach at 6A Northbrook High School commented on what the schedule change will mean for Northbrook's football program.

"The UIL announcement to push the start of the season back a month gives us something to look forward to. While we know that it is far from concrete because of the fluidity of our circumstances, we can at least see some light at the end of the tunnel. This only strengthens our desire to get out and compete," Gomez said.

Tim Teykl, athletic director and head football coach at 6A Alvin High School, said people should not be view UIL's announcement as a delay, but celebrate football's return.

"People are looking right past the fact that the UIL just waved the green flag. The fact that they opened it up and said we are going to slowly return to normalcy by giving back sports and giving us the ability to work with the kids. Big kudos to the UIL," Teykl said.

Teykl credited UIL for recognizing that large 5A and 6A schools need more time to prepare for their season than smaller schools.

"A lot of people are asking why UIL's 1A thru 4A schools will begin their seasons earlier than 5A and 6A. It is really quite easy when people understand it is a numbers game. Eighty-one percent of UIL participation in high school football in Texas comes from 5A and 6A schools. You have to give them consideration on how to manage a population that big," Teykl said.

In the UIL press release, executive director Dr. Charles Breithaupt commented about unpredictable circumstances relating to coronavirus but remained confident in the League's return plan.

"While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread," said Dr. Breithaupt in UIL's press release.

UIL announced that school systems may conduct corona screenings of their own, via online the internet. Northbrook is part of Spring Branch ISD and the district has issued a Health and Safety Protocol Acknowledgement that families of players must sign.

"Parents must ensure they do not send a student to participate in UIL activities if the student has COVID-19 symptoms or is lab-confirmed with COVID-19 until the conditions for re-entry are met," according to UIL guidelines.

To stay updated on UIL's COVID-19 Risk Mitigation guidelines, click on https://www.uiltexas.org/policy/covid-19/2020-2021-uil-covid-19-risk-mitigation-guidelines

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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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