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Families, coaches, players in SWFL want HS football to start in fall

Florida high school sports are set to begin next week, and 30,000 Floridians want to make sure that start date still happens. People are signing a petition as part of the “Let Them Play In Florida ” push.

We are learning everyone from coaches to parents want their kids to play.

“They just want to play,” said Jospeh Boney, an Immokalee High School football parent. “That’s the main thing. They want to play.”

Southwest Florida players, parents and coaches says it’s time to get back on the field.

“We’re ready to play. We want to play,” said coach Josh Vogelbach of Bishop Verot football team.

Vogelbach and Boney aren’t alone.

Thousands of people have signed a petition, demanding the FHSAA start fall high school sports next Monday as planned.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is among those applying the pressure to play.

“I’m standing with our coaches and our athletes,” DeSantis said. “We need to have them back.”

But the FHSAA also sees the Big Ten and Pac-12 college football conferences have pushed college football from the fall to spring, saying it’s not safe to play.

Boney worries big-time college football will influence his son’s play in high school.

“It’s sad that some conferences have already made the decision to cancel,” Boney said. “I know they made the decision to put the kids’ health first, but kids can walk into Winn Dixie and contract it. I don’t see how you’re overprotecting them by canceling the whole season.”

Boney and coach Vogelbach won’t oppose a delayed start to sports.

“As a parent I wouldn’t mind if it got pushed back to even December,” Boney said.

“If they think right now is not the right time, well sometime during their senior year is the right time,” Vogelbach said.

We could find out as soon as Friday whether kids will play ball in the fall. Currently, all sports are set to begin practice for the upcoming season Monday.

Reporter:Taylor Petras
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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