Week 4 has been one of the most active of the high school football season — and none of the games have even kicked off yet.
As of Friday afternoon, eight games have been either canceled or postponed, including three 11-man games, and at least four games have been added to the schedule.
- Winner at Valentine (Neb.)
- Menno/Marion at Baltic
- Great Plains Lutheran at Dakota Hills
- Timber Lake at Potter County
- Pierre at Tea Area
- Burke at Colome, Monday
- Aberdeen Roncalli at Sisseton, Oct. 9
- Alcester-Hudson at Gayville-Volin, TBD
- Custer at Scottsbluff (Neb.), Friday
- Viborg-Hurley at Baltic, Friday
- Oldham-Ramona/Rutland at Dakota Hills, Friday
- Timber Lake at Herreid/Selby Area, Saturday
Winner became South Dakota’s first 11-man team to have a game postponed/canceled since the season started on Monday, with its opponent, Valentine (Neb.) making the announcement via Facebook. The Badgers canceled their game last week due to a positive COVID case.
On Tuesday, Burke and Colome sent letters to their respective families, alerting them of positive coronavirus cases at both schools. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that their football game had been postponed to Monday at 6 p.m.
In her letter to parents, Colome superintendent Debbie O’Doan stated there are four confirmed cases in their district, with two staff members and two students testing positive.
“The staff and students have been in isolation/quarantine since they first showed symptoms,” she wrote. “I am requesting that you do not overreact, or panic. We will get through this together.”
As of Wednesday morning, Burke had eight active cases among the K-12 staff (1 recovered), two recovered cases in the high school, plus 20 students and three staff members quarantined as close contacts, according to superintendent Erik Person. By Monday, they expect 15 of the 20 students to be out of quarantine and seven of the eight active cases among the staff to have recovered.
Burke, which moved its homecoming festivities to the week of Sept. 28, has been in virtual learning for most of the week.
Attendance at home indoor sporting events will be limited to four guests per player and facemasks will be required for spectators. The volleyball team is scheduled to play at Platte-Geddes on Sept. 22, their first match since Sept. 10.
Wednesday night, Pierre announced it had suspended its football, soccer and volleyball seasons due to a “massive spike” in positive COVID cases and the resulting surge of confirmed close contacts.
The news impacts seven sporting events, including Friday night’s football game between the No. 3 Class 11AA Governors and No. 1 Class 11A Tea Area, which was officially canceled Friday afternoon.
Additionally, Pierre’s soccer doubleheader Thursday at Roosevelt has been postponed, as have their volleyball matches scheduled for Friday (vs. Yankton) and Saturday (vs. Douglas). The golf team will not travel to Mitchell on Friday, and the cheer and dance team will not travel to Brookings on Saturday.
“It’s not any one sport or one group of people (that’s caused the spike in cases),” Pierre athletic director Brian Moser said. “We’re a small community, a small school. We’d been doing really good. It’s just one of those things that came out of nowhere.”
The Governors hope to reschedule the football, volleyball and soccer games for a later date.
Less than 24 hours after the school suspended fall sports, Pierre superintendent Kelly Glodt announced high school classes had been canceled for Friday. According to Glodt, the district had roughly five positive COVID cases among high school students on Monday, but by Thursday, those cases were estimated at 15, while at least 150 others were asked to quarantine for 14 days.
“The number of our students who are having to quarantine due to being identified as a close contact is in the hundreds and continuing to escalate,” an email to parents stated.
A third 11-man game was axed Thursday night, with Aberdeen Roncalli and Sisseton rescheduling their game to Oct. 9.
The decision was made due to COVID-related issues for the Cavaliers, Roncalli athletic director Terry Dosch confirmed Thursday night. Dosch said no one on the team has tested positive, but there’s “a number” of players who have been quarantined.
“We’re just trying to be cautious and take care of the kids,” he continued.
Dosch said the state health department is still conducting contact tracing and he is unsure if any other Roncalli teams will be impacted. As for the football team, they hope to be cleared to resume practices by next week. “We’ll continue to follow DOH guidelines and see what happens,” Dosch said.
“We have a game next week,” he added. “Our hope is that maybe that will happen, but I am not a soothsayer.”
In a post to its social media channels, Menno/Marion announced the cancellation of its game at Baltic, citing a “COVID situation” in the co-op schools (Menno and Marion).
Menno had to postpone three volleyball matches earlier this month after “some” of their players were deemed close contacts and put into quarantine, according to athletic director Jacque Liebl.
With regards to Friday’s football game, Marion athletic director Denise Arbach declined an interview request.
This marked the second straight week an opponent had canceled on Baltic, but in a twist of good fortune, Viborg-Hurley was able and willing to replace Menno/Marion on the Bulldogs’ schedule, VH coach Rob Kessler confirmed Thursday night.
The game, which will be played in Baltic (it’s their homecoming week), is essentially a make-up of the team’s Week 3 game, which was canceled due to COVID concerns according to a Facebook post from the Viborg-Hurley school district.
Dakota Hills also had to change homecoming opponents after its game vs. Great Plains Lutheran was canceled. The Grizzlies will instead host Oldham-Ramona/Rutland on Friday at 7 p.m. in Wilmot.
According to the school website, GPL has also postponed three volleyball matches: Sept. 17 vs. Waubay-Summit, Sept. 21 vs. Castlewood and Sept. 24 vs. Waverly-South Shore.
Friday morning, the Gettysburg School District (Potter County) announced via Facebook that its game vs. Timber Lake has been canceled, as have all team practices for the day. The district sent a letter to parents on Thursday alerting them that a student in the school has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Potter County teams did not practice on Thursday and their volleyball match vs. McLaughlin was postponed.
Shortly after their game was canceled, Timber Lake added a game at Herreid/Selby for Saturday at 6 p.m. in Herreid.
Alcester-Hudson coach Brian Haak said he received word around 3 p.m. Friday that a member associated with the Gayville-Volin football team had tested positive for COVID. Shortly thereafter, the game was postponed.
Kickoff was scheduled for 7 p.m. in Gayville.
“We kind of had to make a quick decision,” Haak said. “One person called the state, another was getting ahold of the other people who needed to be talked to and we just made the collective decision to postpone the game.”
While there is hope of rescheduling the game down the line, it will be extremely difficult since Gayville-Volin is already past its open date (Week 2). “We’re trying to be optimistic,” Haak said.
Alcester-Hudson’s bye week is scheduled for Week 6. If the game vs. Gayville-Volin is unable to be rescheduled, there should be other possible opponents. As of Friday night, fellow Class 9B members Avon, Herreid/Selby Area, Irene-Wakonda and Kadoka Area share the same off week, as does 9A’s Potter County.
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen.