We wish it were an April Fools joke, but this looks to be an unfortunate reality for three local football teams.
NCTV17’s Christian Canizal reports that Benet Academy, Neuqua Valley, and Naperville North all sat out the second week of the high school season last weekend due to positive COVID tests or contact tracing.
The Naperville North team is on its second week of quarantining after being in close contact with Week 1 opponent Neuqua Valley, who had confirmed cases of COVID-19 according to Naperville North Athletic Director Bob Quinn.
“We did all the right things but still fell victim to the situation that we’re in,” said Quinn. “Certainly we want to be safe and want to follow guidance of the DuPage County Health Department, and that’s what we’re doing. But, nevertheless it’s discouraging and it’s heartbreaking for our student-athletes and coaches.”
The North Huskies had to cancel their home games this season against DeKalb last week and rival Naperville Central this week because of the two-week quarantine period required by DCHD.
The Benet Redhawks tasted what’s it like being a pro team as they suited up against Marmion Academy on Sunday after their Week 2 game against the Neuqua Valley was canceled. Typically high school games are played on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons.
“It does throw you out of whack, but I guess it’s fitting for this season to be that way because this season will be a memorable one,” said Naperville Central Football Head Coach Michael Stine. “We’re all going remember it. Whatever you think might be strange and unusual is probably going to happen this season.
Because of the COVID pause at Neuqua and North, the Redhawks football squad finds itself in the same situation they were last week, looking for a team to play this weekend.
“One of the teams that we were looking was St. Laurence,” said Stine. “They were supposed to play Benet, but that game got moved. They want to play on Thursday. If we made that game that would be a real quick turnaround for us playing Sunday to a Thursday. We would do that, but I don’t know if that game is going to happen.”
Stine added that the other team they could potentially play is Crystal Lake South, but is unsure if either of those games will happen.
High school football teams can play up to six games and will have no state series this season, making each game even more precious.
Both Naperville North and Central said implemented strategies to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 by requiring mask wearing, socially distancing, and having workout smaller workout groups.
Next week the Huskies will hopefully resume their season by taking on Metea Valley. Naperville Central is scheduled to play at Dekalb while Neuqua Valley hosts Waubonsie Valley.
Quinn hopes he can reschedule the Crosstown Classic game between the Redhawks and Huskies in Week Six.
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