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Crossett, others sacked by virus

by Jeremy Muck | October 9, 2020 at 2:16 a.m.

Crossett was about two hours away from facing DeWitt on Thursday night at the Eagles' home stadium of Lynn Yarborough Field.

Then, the game -- scheduled for 6:30 p.m. -- was called off because of covid-19.

Crossett Superintendent Gary Williams told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the school learned of a positive case in the football program late Thursday afternoon and that several members of the program will have to quarantine after being exposed to the virus.

The game, which was to be Crossett's first home game since Sept. 4 against Magnolia, was canceled, resulting in a no-contest, meaning there will be no winner or loser.

Williams did not say if the case was from a player or a coach, citing privacy laws.

DeWitt had already arrived at Lynn Yarborough Field, Williams said. He added that DeWitt Superintendent Nick Hill was understanding of the situation, then had the Dragons return home.

Williams said the Arkansas Department of Health called the district's point of contact to give them the news.

"No game is safe until you kick off," Williams said. "You could be on your way to the game then have to turn around and drive home. That's what played out tonight."

Thursday's game is the third game this season that Crossett, last year's 4A-8 Conference champion, has had to miss because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Eagles also missed games at McGehee on Sept. 18 and against Warren at home Sept. 25 after having several players in quarantine.

In addition, Crossett will also miss its Oct. 16 game against Monticello, Williams said, because of the program's covid-19 situation.

"It's disappointing," Williams said. "But it's out of our control."

The DeWitt-Crossett game had been moved from tonight to Thursday because of concerns with possibly heavy rain from Hurricane Delta.

Instead of playing Crossett on Thursday, DeWitt will travel to Blytheville tonight in a nonconference game. Blytheville announced the schedule change on its Facebook page late Thursday night.

Blytheville had its 4A-3 Conference game against Highland canceled earlier Thursday.

Highland canceled the game after learning of a staff member testing positive for the virus.

Corning does not have any positive covid-19 cases in its football program, but the school announced Thursday afternoon that the team would not travel to Hoxie for a 3A-3 Conference game tonight.

The school's statement said it was "erring on the side of caution."

Superintendent Kellee Smith told the Democrat-Gazette that several football players at Corning have shown symptoms of the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms may include a fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and a new loss of taste or smell, among other items.

"I was nervous about it," Smith said. "But I just didn't want to run the risk of infecting our players or any other players at another school."

Highland announced in a news statement that a staff member was considered a presumed positive case of covid-19, which resulted in several staff quarantines within the football program.

Highland football Coach Adam Carter said that the school found out about the case at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. He did not comment on how many players or coaches are affected.

The Rebels have been able to play all five of their scheduled games. But this week, they're sidelined thanks to the virus.

"Everything was going great," Carter said. "We had a great week of practice. We were excited to play."

Carter said the status of the Rebels' next game Oct. 16 at Rivercrest was not known.

Also Thursday night, Pea Ridge announced that its game tonight at Vilonia has been called off thanks to the program's quarantine situation.

Pea Ridge will also miss its next two games Oct. 16 against Greenbrier and Oct. 23 at Clarksville.

Athletic Director Tony Travis said several players and coaches are having to quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Travis said he found out about the situation at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

"We didn't feel like we had the numbers to play," Travis said. "What stinks for us is that if you find out early in the week, you quarantine for two weeks and may miss two games. But it's a Thursday and you do the math, and we'll miss three games."

This week, there have been 17 games scheduled that have been affected by covid-19. In the previous six weeks of the high school football season in the state, 47 games were affected by covid-19, either with positive cases and/or quarantine situations.

With all six classifications in the state having at least one team missing a conference game because of covid-19, every team will qualify for the state football playoffs. Teams have the option of opting out by Oct. 26 if they don't want to participate. But if a team has to miss a game in the playoffs because of covid-19, that team must forfeit its spot and their season is over.

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Games canceled

The coronavirus pandemic has affected 17 known games in the state, including Thursday night’s DeWitt-Crossett game. The high school football season, which began Aug. 27, is in its seventh week. The canceled games are considered a “no-contest.”


LR Central at Bryant

LR Southwest at North Little Rock


Beebe at LR Christian

Jacksonville at Maumelle

Pea Ridge at Vilonia


DeWitt at Crossett*

Pottsville at Dardanelle

Berryville at Elkins

Arkadelphia at Fountain Lake

Blytheville at Highland

Dover at Mena

Hamburg at Star City


Lake Village at Drew Central

Riverview at Harding Academy

Corning at Hoxie


Marked Tree at Cross County

Earle at Lafayette County^

*Scheduled for Thursday

^Nonconference game


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