SF Preps: San Francisco Section postpones football semifinals to Thanksgiving Week

The smoke and ash from the Camp fire in Butte County continues to impact local high school sports in the San Francisco Bay Area. Once again, the San Francisco Section has announced, its semifinal round of playoff football has been postponed.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, then postponed to Friday, and then Saturday, the games between Balboa (5-3) and Lincoln (10-0), and between Mission (5-4) and Galileo (7-2), will now be played on Monday at 2 p.m., according to a release from Section commissioner Don Collins.

”Hopefully, the air quality begins to drop into the playable range soon,” Collins said via e-mail.

San Francisco teams in the Central Coast Section — St. Ignatius, Serra and Sacred Heart Cathedral — are all set to play their first-round games in Salinas, away from the toxic air that has choked the Bay Area. The air quality index in the City had surpassed the 270 mark, deemed “very unhealthy,” as late as Friday. Saturday morning’s air quality index in the city was “unhealthy,” at 179.

The Section — which coincides with the Academic Athletic Association — will attempt to play the semifinals on Monday, if the air quality index drops below 125, the threshold over which outdoor competitions are not to be played, according to Section rule.

If the teams play Monday, the Section championship will be played at the end of the week of Nov. 26, with a date and time to be announced. There will be a backup date for that date, as well.

If the Section cannot play the semifinals on Monday, they will postpone the semifinals until next Friday, Nov. 23. The Section will hold Saturday, Nov. 24 as the semifinal backup date. The finals have traditionally been held on Thanksgiving, but because of the unprecedented amount of smoke and debris in the air, propelling air quality indices over 270 in the City, that will not be the case.

Having turned to practicing in the school gymnasium, Galileo will not have played football for nearly a month if it takes the field as planned on Monday. The Lions lost to Lincoln 52-18 on Oct. 20, before a forfeit by Washington on Oct. 26, and then a scheduled bye. Their regular-season finale against Balboa was one of the first games in the section to be postponed.

The San Francisco Section isn’t alone in having to make schedule adjustments. The University of San Francisco has moved both its men’s and women’s basketball games to Cal State Monterey Bay this Sunday, over 100 miles south, and Cal and Stanford have postponed the Big Game to Dec. 1. City College of San Francisco has also had to postpone its bowl game against Modesto City College from this Saturday to Dec. 1.

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