Calif. HS teams scheduled to play in fire-stricken areas weigh options

Photo courtesy of California Highway Patrol via the Ventura County Star

Calif. HS teams scheduled to play in fire-stricken areas weigh options


Calif. HS teams scheduled to play in fire-stricken areas weigh options


Editor’s note: This article was updated when the Ventura County Star confirmed that Calabasas would play at a new location.

Despite Woolsey Fire causing heavy loss and evacuation in the Thousand Oaks, Calif., area 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, a high-profile football game is scheduled to take place in the area.

A matchup between two of the top schools in the country, Super 25 No. 13-ranked Oaks Christian and No. 1-ranked St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), is scheduled to be hosted by Oaks Christian in Westlake Village.

Oaks Christian athletic director of operations Peter Ackermann said in an email Tuesday afternoon that the team is “still in process of deciding” whether to change locations.

A different high-profile matchup decided to move its location, the Ventura County Star confirmed Tuesday.

The Calabasas vs. Upland (Calif.) high school game was re-located to Royal Valley High School (Simi Valley, Calif.).

Calabasas High School and the district office are closed through Thanksgiving due to fires. Calabasas was also ravaged by fast-moving flames that triggered evacuations in Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park.

Calabasas and Agoura Hills are part of the Las Virgenes Unified School District, and superintendent Dan Stepenosky said in an email that he spoke with the Upland superintendent and commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section on Monday.

At that time, they had hoped to keep the game at Calabasas if the air quality would allow.

“The great irony at this point is that the very same Santa Ana winds that caused the fire to explode are now pushing the remaining smoke out over the ocean, so our current air quality is good,” he said.

Stepenosky initially said the school would decide Friday, but the VC Star confirmed the game would be moved on Tuesday.

Precedent shows the CIF-SS is willing to accept game postponements at the last minute, including instances involving three of these four schools this month. Last weekend, fires forced both the Oaks Christian game and the Calabasas game to be postponed one night, and the Upland game was postponed on Nov. 2 after a player on the opposing team collapsed on the field before warm-ups.

To alter the location of the game, the two schools simply have to agree to the change and alert the CIF-SS.

As of Tuesday morning, Woolsey Fire had burned more than 96,000 acres and was 35 percent contained, according to the Ventura County Star.

Spokespeople for Upland and St. John Bosco did not respond immediately to inquiries.


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