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In the Bleachers with Billy

High school sports start in about a month. For the athletes, however, they haven’t stopped.

This week marks the Oregon School Activities Association’s “moratorium week,” in which players cannot use school facilities, or have contact with coaches for any athletic reasons, in an effort to give everyone a break before the season starts.

I’ve covered it in this column before, so I won’t go too in depth about it, but I still think this is a great policy for the OSAA to have.

It is a respected policy, and one the OSAA enforces pretty strictly (if you see the infractions list after every OSAA executive board list, it’s pretty clear) which is a great thing.

It gives coaches an option when planning to take vacations, and sometimes even the players’ families schedule vacations for that week as well.

However, for those players that simply don’t have anything going on, there’s nothing wrong with getting some teammates together — off school grounds, of course — and doing some sprints or simple drills to stay in step with summer workouts, and keep focused mentally.

This is a time where team leaders can emerge, respect can be earned and some fun can be had until things get really series with daily doubles just around the corner.

The thought of doing daily doubles again makes me queasy.

Anyway, if vacation or family time is the answer during moratorium week, by all means, make that happen. In the end, family is more important than athletics.

But, if family time is at an all-time high (and the parents want the kids out of the house), then some quality time with the athletes’ second family could be the right choice.

Moving along, but staying with fall sports (kind of), it’s nice to see Devin Ceciliani will be playing in the Oregon East-West Shrine football game, which is Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

After being drafted in the MLB First-Year Player Draft in June, he didn’t sign a contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, and rather stayed true to his commitment to play football at Western Oregon University.

When I heard that, it brought a smile to my face, to be honest. In an era where the buck dictates what just about everyone does, Ceciliani took the road not many draftees are taking these days and is going to school.

That, and Ceciliani really wants to play college football. And he should, because he’s going to be a great college player. He has all the tools, and once the WOU coaches get him in a weight room and strength program, he will run a reign of terror around the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Ceciliani is projected to play wide receiver and kick returner, if WOU has its way — I suspect — they will bulk him up and let him roam on the defensive side of the ball at free safety.

If you think he brought the boom on people at the high school level, he’ll be a one-man wrecking ball that destroys and haunts the dreams of wide receivers in his later years for the Wolves.

OK, maybe that’s a little much, but he’ll be a good one to watch develop and see where he ends up.

Staying with football (see a theme yet?), the Madras High School program will play just three home games this season, but they won’t be at home.

Since construction on the new stadium began this summer, the White Buffalos will play “home” contests at Culver High School.

It’s not the best situation by any means, but the payoff will be glorious once the new stadium is ready for action, which should be by next fall.

I feel a little bad for the seniors in the program, but the bright side of that is there aren’t going to be many seniors on this year’s team. The future has potential for the Buffs, which was evident by the crop of youngsters that showed up for a football camp with Eastern Washington University instructors a couple weeks ago at MHS.

While the first MHS home game isn’t scheduled until Sept. 27, the Tri-Valley Conference opener against North Marion, only one of the nonconference games is outside Central Oregon.

The team’s season opener against Stayton on Aug. 30 is the sole long trip before the TVC docket. Madras is at Redmond, Sisters and Prineville for the other three.

I’ll have more on the volleyball programs around here in the coming issues. Both Madras and Culver will be top notch teams, and that is for sure.

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