Steve Fryer has notes and updates from the first day of football practice in Orange County for the 2015 season.

Fryer: Practice rules force teams to start slowly


Football practice started Monday for many Orange County teams.

Or maybe practice actually “resumed” Monday.

CIF-Southern Section rules state that teams that will play Week 0 games – Aug. 27-29 – could begin the mandatory three-day conditioning period Monday. After the three-day conditioning period, full-contact practices in full gear (shoulder pads, etc.) are allowed.

Orange Lutheran is among several county teams that took their mandatory three straight weeks of no football activity – known as the “dead period” – over the last part of June and the start of July.


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The Lancers have been going at it fairly intensely since July 6. So for them and many other teams, the three-day conditioning period is something of a regression in their preparation for the 2015 season.

Teams can use blocking dummies, padded body shields and other such gear all summer. That’s what the Lancers and every other team have been doing all summer.

Teams cannot use those items during the conditioning period. Practice gear is T-shirts, shorts, helmets and cleats.

“We kind of went backwards today,” Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen said after practice Monday morning. “We couldn’t practice the way we’ve been practicing. We’re limited in what we can do these three days, so, in reality it kind of slowed us down.”

Orange Lutheran is not ready to slow down. The Lancers went 0-5 in the Trinity League last year when they had six sophomore starters. With several returning starters on offense and on defense, Lutheran can’t wait to show what it can do this year.

Among the returning starters are quarterback Lj Northington, safety Brandon McKinney, linebacker Jordan Williams and kicker/punter Jerry Fitschen. All were All-Trinity League in 2014 and all are seniors except for McKinney, who is a junior.

Orange Lutheran in ’14 lost by one point to Santa Margarita, by three points to Servite, by four to JSerra and put up 43 points in a loss to league and Pac-5 Division champion St. John Bosco.

“We felt that even though we were so young, we still competed,” Petersen said.

The quest to compete better started, or resumed, Monday for Orange Lutheran and many other county football teams.


The CIF-Southern Section, the governing body of high school sports in Orange County and much of Southern California, requires football teams to have 14 days of practice before playing their first games.

Mission Viejo will have exactly that many practices completed when it plays in Hawaii on Aug. 21 against Baldwin of Wailuku.  Mission Viejo is the only Orange County team playing that week.

The Diablos start, or resume, practicing Wednesday.

Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson, who has been a high school football head coach since 1970, prefers the old style of setting up the football practice schedule: take the dead period as late in the summer as possible, then get going again as late as possible.

“I’m still old school, man,” Johnson said. “We want the kids to take that big break before we get going again.”

But Johnson is not resistant to change. Like Petersen, he finds the three-day conditioning period antiquated.

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