COVID-19 cases force high school football teams to forfeit

Coronavirus

GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Coronavirus protocols are leading to forfeits and schedule changes for high school football teams in West Michigan. 

Friday’s game between Greenville High School and Byron Center High School was canceled because of a positive COVID-19 case within Greenville’s program. 

When a positive case is identified, the Michigan High School Athletic Association is advising schools to contact their county health department. 

“Generally, some contract tracing involved, similar to what happens if there’s a case in school during school day,” Geoff Kimmerly, the communications director for the MHSAA, said. “They decide who close contacts are and they decide how many people need to be quarantined.”

Greenville Superintendent Linda Van Houten told News 8 by phone that the Yellow Jackets will quarantine until next week.

The cancellation marks the second straight week in which Byron Center has had a game canceled because of COVID-19. 

“Byron Center is unfortunately stuck in maybe the unluckiest spot in the world,” Kimmerly said. 

The MHSAA says seven games have been canceled statewide because of COVID-19 through the first two weeks of the season. 

“During the regular season last year, we averaged per week 16 teams that were quarantined because of COVID-19,” Kimmerly said. “The fact that we’ve had four and three, we’re obviously doing pretty well.” 

If a team cancels a game because of COVID-19, it’s technically considered a forfeit victory for the opponent, unless the opponent can find a new team to play. 

“Our athletic directors put a ton of time to making sure they’re good matchups for their schools, in terms of similarly sized (schools), location,” Kimmerly said. “All of a sudden to do that on the fly is definitely difficult.”

Byron Center was given a forfeit victory after Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg canceled last week. 

This week, the Byron Center Bulldogs will cross state lines to play. They will travel to Indiana to take on Elkhart High School on Friday night. 

Greenville’s next game is slated for Sept. 17 against Grand Rapids Christian. 

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