PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - A COVID-19 outbreak has forced Pontiac High School to cancel its high school football game this week, serving as a stark reminder that the virus continues to impact communities.
Pontiac High School's football team had been on a winning streak, securing victories in their first two games. Their sights were set on making it three in a row by defeating the Ferndale High School football team.
However, the Pontiac team found themselves unable to take the field on Friday evening due to a COVID-19 outbreak among several of their team members. In an abundance of caution, the decision was made to postpone the game and ensure the safety of everyone involved.
"We just had a few of our players test positive for COVID, and just out of an abundance of caution, we wanted to get everyone tested and not put anyone in harm's way," explained Wendell Jefferson.
This unfortunate turn of events means that the anticipated Friday night lights at Ferndale High School have been dimmed for now. While the players expressed disappointment, they also acknowledged the need to address the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.
The situation also has implications for the team's record. According to rules set by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, this cancellation will affect the team's current winning record.
Jefferson said he wanted to explore options to reschedule the game or have it declared a "no contest," but for now, it stands as a forfeit for Pontiac High School.
Medical professionals have noted that COVID-19 numbers are on the rise, especially as schools have reopened for in-person classes and many individuals have engaged in summertime travel. The potential availability of booster shots is currently under review by the FDA, with the hope that they will be approved and made available soon. However, doctors emphasize that even with booster shots, COVID-19 outbreaks can still occur, although they may be mitigated.
FOX 2 reached out to Ferndale High School for their reaction to the game's cancelation, but they declined to provide a comment.
Inquiries regarding the number of players who tested positive for COVID-19 and whether any coaches were affected were directed to Pontiac School officials. However, they stated that such information could not be released due to privacy rules.
As a coach, the primary goal is to teach players the importance of winning not only on the football field but also in life. The coach emphasized that their purpose extends beyond sports and that guiding players toward success in all aspects of their lives is their ultimate mission.
"If we're not doing that and just winning, consider that a failure," the coach added, highlighting the holistic approach taken by the team's coaching staff.