By CBSLA Staff

REDLANDS (CBSLA) — For the first time in nearly a year, high school football players are getting ready for a game at Citrus Valley High School in Redlands.

The Blackhawks are preparing for a game against Redlands East Valley on March 19, the first game the team has been able to schedule for the 2020-21 school year. San Bernardino County, where the school is located, finally reached the necessary drop in COVID-19 cases to allow outdoor contact sports to resume.

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(credit: CBS)

Citrus Valley High’s Head Coach Kurt Bruich said he had spent the whole season being “Captain Positive” with his players, urging them to hang in there when he was unsure of what would happen himself. But when the news finally came down that they could play again?

“It was super like, holy smokes!” Bruich said.

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Senior Alex Toailoa said it took some time to convince his fellow players that they were indeed going to be able to play a game this year.

“We’re really gonna have a season, bro. Like, that’s crazy, Bruich was right,” he said.

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Youth sports were given the green light to resume last month, even if their counties were still in the purple, or widespread, tier of reopening – as long as coronavirus case rates reach 14 or lower per 100,000. However, high-contact sports like football, basketball, rugby, and water polo are required to test players weekly because they are more likely to be played without masks.