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While Laurens County’s two public high schools cautiously prepare for fall sports in the time of COVID-19, the promise is less cloudy at Laurens Academy, where football is played eight at a time.

While LDHS and Clinton have pushed back the start of school to Sept. 8 and the start of football to Sept. 11, the Crusaders still plan to open the season as scheduled, at home against Holly Hill Academy on Aug. 28.

In the face of the coronavirus surge, the S.C. Independent School Association has restricted its members less. Though the workouts have been limited in a manner similar to what the S.C. High School League mandated for its members, Laurens Academy’s football players have been working out throughout June and July, with the exception of one week. Now the Crusaders are in what SCISA refers to as a “dead zone” before practice starts in earnest next week.

LA has fewer athletes to monitor. The football roster has 16 names. The Crusaders field varsity teams in only football and volleyball in the fall, with a few cross country runners competing as individuals in a few meets. LA has middle school teams but not junior varsity.

Athletics director Travis Plowden said the school is contemplating changes. Since volleyball is contested inside, one possibility is either to limit or eliminate fans at the matches inside the school gym. Fans may get access to the matches by some form of live video, likely on Facebook.

“We are watching developments closely, but we have not had any incidence of COVID-19 with any of our athletes so far,” Plowden said. “We are proceeding cautiously, but so far, so good.”

As far as football games are concerned, Todd Kirk Field has only a few small bleachers, and most fans watch while standing behind the fences or on slopes behind one end zone. Social distance can be maintained more simply than at the public schools with their grandstand seating.

As with all sports, prospects for the fall are uncertain, but not as much as with the Raiders and Red Devils.