BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The pandemic has forced a drastic change to public life. Small businesses are hurting and  restaurant service has to rely on takeout and outdoor seating. As students were headed back to school, Governor Livingston was unable to start in-person instruction. But the Governor Livingston Football season, however, is still on, albeit with strong regulations imposed by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association . 

The first three weeks of practice required social distancing and were split into “two phases.” The first two weeks of practice, called phase one, only allowed contact between groups of 10 athletes, which the NJSIAA termed pods. The third week, or phase two, allowed contact between groups of 25 players as well as the ability to hit shields and heavy bags. 

Both phases only allowed practice four days a week and each player needed to meet certain requirements: not having a fever or symptoms of coronavirus, not traveling out of state, and not having contact with anyone who is COVID positive. 

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Many football players were excited to be able to play the season and be with their friends, even if it meant practicing social distancing. Freshman John Fajardo said, “I am excited that even though school is not how it’s supposed to be, I can still play football.” 

Senior Zachary Glenn said, “We are training like we are going to have a season. [The team is] pretty optimistic about making it [our] best attempt to turn this team for the better.” 

Players seem to have faith that the regulations will keep them safe while practicing and eventually playing games later in the season.

Head Coach Daniel Guyton has expressed excitement for the season. He said,“We have a strong group of returning seniors and [the team is] playing a Group 2 schedule for the first time in eight years.” Guyton also said that despite the situation he is grateful that he can coach the football team. 

The football team is overwhelmingly optimistic about the season and thankful for the ability to play. Fans and players are ready for a winning season and everyone appears ready to stay safe, healthy, and work hard. 

Editor's Note: Click here for up-to-date complete sports schedule. The following is the Varsity schedule for opening week:

  • Tennis opens Tuesday, September 29 [4 p.m. start] at home vs Union Catholic HS. Senior Night
  • Boys Soccer opens away on Thursday, October 1 at Arthur L. Johnson HS
  • Cross Country meet, Friday, October 2 [4 p.m. start] at Oak Ridge Park in Clark
  • Field Hockey opens home, Friday, October 2 [4 p.m. start] vs Livingston. Senior Night
  • Football opens away, Saturday, October 3 at Keyport High School
  • Girls Soccer opens home, Saturday, October 3, [2:30 p.m. start] vs Oak Knoll. Senior Night 

With regard to spectators, as previously reported by TAPinto, "Game day protocols will be shared with the administration for approval, but we hope to provide tickets so parents can come and watch their kids play," said Ann Clifton, Athletic Director for Gov. Livingston High School. "Along priority lines, senior student athletes' parents should get to see their child play. We will allot tickets per program and let team parents dispense them. We also want their peers to get to see them play. We will do ticket sales for football. For other sports, parents will get a card allowing them to attend. As of right now, all sports besides football, the athletes on the field, the officials, anyone part of the field of play do not count toward the outdoor limit of 500 people gathering. But the band in football in the bleachers, they would count."

Spectators to events will have their temperature scanned upon entry and will be required to wear masks. Athletes participating in action will not be wearing face masks.

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Valairco Heating & Cooling continues to be the proud sponsor of the Highlander Athlete of the Week. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

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