A second high school football game around Lawrence County fell victim of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Friday’s Shenango at Ellwood City Lincoln WPIAL nonconference game was canceled because of contact tracing throughout the Wolverines’ program. Ellwood City has shut down all activities in the football program for the week.
“It’s a terrible thing,” Ellwood City athletic director Curt Agostinelli said. “We’ve never had a game postponed like this.
“It’s not that they are positive, but it’s that contact tracing. The next thing you know, your roster goes from about 34 kids down to (less than 20). The backups are out. The backups to the backups are out. Especially for an exhibition game like this, that’s not a positive thing. We want safety for the kids, not just to play a game.”
The Wolverines are 0-1.
The Wildcats, who are 0-2, are pursuing a replacement for this week.
“They called (Tuesday) afternoon and said that they had many kids out,” Shenango athletic director Jan Budai said. “They didn’t feel they were able to play the game.
“We’re looking for an opponent. We have some feelers out there and we’ll make a decision by Thursday.”
Budai said he is checking around the WPIAL and in District 10 as well.
“You try to keep some consistency each week,” he said. “To not play for almost two weeks, you lose that edge. Who knows what will take place at our place. We could be next in line.
“We are going to try really hard to find a replacement.”
The game is being billed as a “no contest”. It’s not a win or a loss for either side. Shenango also had a volleyball match postponed Tuesday night against Beaver Falls. Beaver Falls is battling a COVID outbreak. That volleyball match will be made up later in the year, according to Budai.
Agostinelli said Ellwood City had players miss the previous week’s game against Union because of contact tracing. The Scotties won that nonconference matchup, 39-0.
“Football activities are shut down for us right now. Coaches included,” Agostinelli said. “The kids aren’t there. The coaches aren’t there. Nobody is there.
“By Sunday, if nobody is positive in those groups, hopefully we will be back at it. We’re trying to play. We just can’t play Friday; there’s not enough players.”
Agostinelli also added the Wolverines’ squad has been careful up to this point.
“It’s not coming from inside the locker room,” he said. “They’re doing their part; it’s the outside involvement. Wherever they are going.
“It’s not a political thing. It’s not a belief thing. We have to follow the rules. I’m not going to get into an argument with anyone whether we should have masks on, or let them play. The rules are the rules. We have to follow the rules.”
The mask mandate around the state went into effect Tuesday for schools.
“We have our few cases here and there, but it hasn’t hit home,” Budai said.
Football is the only sport that COVID is affecting at Ellwood City.
“We’re good with the other sports,” Agostinelli said. “It’s just something we have to deal with. It’s kids safety. Not just our kids, but the opponents.”