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Virus dismantles high school football schedules

The coronavirus is already wreaking havoc on local high school football schedules.

Many school systems are pushing the start of their school year back a week or two, which is forcing the cancellation of games involving those teams.

Under AHSAA rules, if a team has to cancel for any reason, the game must be forfeited by the cancelling team.

Marion County Schools pushed the start of school back to Aug. 24. So, any games schools in Marion County were scheduled to play will have to be forfeited. This will affect the schedules of Phil Campbell and Red Bay.

Red Bay was set to open up the season against the Hamilton Aggies Aug. 21. Now, since Hamilton can’t play, they have to forfeit, and Red Bay is 1-0.

The Tigers were to play Biggersville, Miss., Aug. 28; however, the state of Mississippi pushed the start of sports back two weeks, forcing the cancellation of this game as well. Since it is an out-of-state game, it doesn’t count as a forfeit.

“We went from playing in a couple of weeks to not playing until Sept. 4,” said Red Bay Coach Michael Jackson.  “It’s tough, but it is what it is. We are trying to get something worked out for one of those weeks, but we just don’t know yet.”

Phil Campbell was set to open up the season hosting Phillips. That game is now cancelled, and Phil Campbell is 1-0.

“We got our first win,” said Phil Campbell Coach Kevin Barnwell. “It’s not exactly how you want to get a win.  Our guys want to play. We are trying to get something worked out for that week, but it’s up in the air right now.”

Russellville’s week two game against Deshler Aug. 28 has been cancelled, as well.  That game will also count as a forfeit win for Russellville.

“Deshler decided not to play any games in August to give their guys an additional couple of weeks to get back from quarantine and some other COVID situations,” said Russellville Coach John Ritter. “We are moving forward and are able to play a scrimmage type game in that slot that Deshler forfeited.”

Is this a one-off problem, or is it a sign of things to come? Only time will tell.

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