The Georgia High School Association’s board of trustees voted Monday, July 20 to postpone the start of football season by two weeks, from Aug. 21 to Sept. 4, amid the coronavirus pandemic which has led several school districts around the state to delay the start of their school year.
The board’s vote was unanimous after a motion to keep the schedule the same was voted down 8-4. All other fall sports — softball, volleyball, cross country, competitive cheerleading and flag football for the schools that offer it — are still scheduled to start on time.
Football teams will still be allowed to begin mandatory practice Monday, July 27, and can begin wearing pads Aug. 1. But the extra two weeks will give them more time to prepare for competition against each other, and to get their players more adjusted to the Georgia heat before games kick off. Teams were not allowed to put on helmets until this week, and GHSA executive director Robin Hines was potentially set to further ease restrictions Wednesday after a meeting with his medical advisory council.
Preseason scrimmages will be pushed back to Aug. 21 and Aug. 28, and teams will still play a full 10-game regular season with five rounds of playoff games. That means the annual Battle of Barrow between Winder-Barrow and Apalachee at R. Harold Harrison Stadium will now be played Sept. 4. The regular season would end Nov. 20, and the playoffs would begin Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.
While the two-week delay with modification would place the state championship games between Dec. 24-26, Hines said in various media reports the GHSA was eyeing Dec. 28-30 as the state championship dates at Georgia State Stadium in downtown Atlanta.
Below is the full-season, week-by-week football schedule for Apalachee and Winder-Barrow.
East Jackson at Apalachee (scrimmage), 7:30 p.m.
Commerce at Apalachee (scrimmage), 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow at Gainesville (scrimmage), 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow at Apalachee, 7:30 p.m.
Habersham Central at Apalachee, 7:30 p.m.
Eastside at Winder-Barrow, 7:30 p.m.
Glynn Academy at Winder-Barrow, 7:30 p.m.
Apalachee at Madison County, 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow and Apalachee open date
Clarke Central at Apalachee, 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow at Cedar Shoals, 7:30 p.m.
Apalachee at Eastside (Thursday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m.)
Habersham Central at Winder-Barrow, 7:30 p.m.
Greenbrier at Apalachee, 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow at Dacula, 7:30 p.m.
Shiloh at Winder-Barrow, 7:30 p.m.
Apalachee open date
Apalachee at Johnson-Gainesville, 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow at Central Gwinnett, 7:30 p.m.
Apalachee at Walnut Grove, 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow open date
Loganville at Apalachee, 7:30 p.m.
Winder-Barrow at Buford, 7:30 p.m.
Lanier at Winder-Barrow, 7:30 p.m.
Apalachee at Jackson County, 7:30 p.m.
First round of playoffs
Second round of playoffs
DEC. 28-30 (tentative)