A moratorium on high school athletics arrives next week. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Everything quiets down next week.

Each year, the Oregon School Activities Association imposes what it calls a “moratorium week” around the last week of July. In short, it means coaches and athletes involved in a sanctioned sport or activity cannot have contact with one another. It also means that teams and athletes can’t use Philomath High’s athletic facilities.

Let me clarify the no contact rule. Actually, the OSAA says a coach and player could communicate via email or phone next week but “conversations may not refer to actions required for that week” — workouts, practice plans, meetings and so on.

High school student athletes are allowed to attend camps and clinics as long as no coaches are present and participation is not organized or paid for by the school.

There are exceptions to these rules (the OSAA will grant waivers in specific situations) but I won’t get into all of those.

So what happens if the rules are broken?

“The standard penalty is a $500 fine and game suspension for the offending coach,” states the OSAA Handbook.

The OSAA’s executive board approved the idea of a moratorium week in 2008 out of a suggestion by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association. It went into effect for the first time in 2009.

The primary idea behind it is to just give everybody a break. Many athletes go from spring sports into summer programs and before long, they’re getting revved up for the fall sports. It’s a chance to just chill — as the people a lot younger than myself would say.

Following moratorium week, athletes will be able to return to the weight room, participate in local school-sponsored camps and get mentally prepared for the fall seasons.

The PHS preseason stretch in August includes a home soccer jamboree. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Official practices begin Aug. 14

Philomath High’s athletes will be able to participate in official practices Aug. 14 with jamborees and season openers in all sports except football to follow as early as Aug. 24. Football’s first games can be played Aug. 31.

A few observations from the fall sports schedules:

• Football — Philomath will play five of its nine games on the road, beginning Sept. 1 at Crook County. The home games will be against Newport (Sept. 8), Junction City (Sept. 22), Cascade (Oct. 6) and Sweet Home (Oct. 27). For the second straight year, a nonleague game against Klamath Union has been scheduled for the second-to-last game.

• Volleyball — The schedule that’s currently published on the OSAA website shows Philomath opening the season Sept. 5 against Junction City. Tournaments include Sept. 30 at Barlow and Oct. 14 at Bend.

• Soccer — The Warriors will host their annual jamboree Aug. 24. The regular-season openers will be Aug. 31 at home against Marist Catholic for the boys and Aug. 29 at home against South Albany for the girls (they will then play at Marist two days later on the 31st).

• Cross-country — You might’ve read about the cross-country schedule a couple of weeks ago in this column but to refresh, the season opens Aug. 25 at The Opener on a course in Monmouth. This year’s Paul Mariman Invite is set for Oct. 7.

It’ll be here before you know it. PHS has a new athletic director in place with Mike Hood and all head coaches will be back — Alex Firth (football), Autumn Hilberg (volleyball), David Ellis (boys soccer), Mat Phelps (girls soccer) and Joe Fulton (boys and girls cross-country).

Payton Starwalt will be heading to high school over at Crescent Valley. (Courtesy photo via OSAAtoday)

Familiar name getting some press

A Philomath family is getting some pretty good exposure as Payton Starwalt gets ready to embark on her freshman year. Although she attended middle school here in Philomath, she’ll be headed this fall to Crescent Valley High over in Corvallis.

In case you don’t know, Ryan Starwalt, Payton’s dad, was a Philomath High standout athlete in the 1990s and coached the Warriors baseball program for a stretch that ended in 2009 when he took over those same duties with the Raiders.

Ryan, who graduated with the PHS Class of 1997, was an exceptional three-sport athlete. Payton’s getting a lot of attention for her skills on the basketball court. Playing for the Valley Tropics club team this summer, the 5-foot-6 guard averaged 22.6 points, made 13 of 14 free throws and made an astounding 56.9% of her 3-point attempts over eight games at the End of the Trail Tournament in Oregon City.

Last year, Payton played with Philomath’s middle-school club team that won the state title.

Jerry Ulmer wrote about her in a story published last week by OSAAtoday.

According to the article, Ryan will join the CV girls basketball staff as an assistant coach.

The Starwalt family lives west of town on a property that includes a gym where Payton can work on her hoop skills. Good luck to her this season with the Raiders.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at News@PhilomathNews.com).

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.