Cottondale postpones football game after positive COVID-19 tests
Cottondale High School announced on Wednesday that it was postponing a schedule dfootball games – Sept. 18 against Bozeman – due to a potential COVID-19 outbreak at the school. They also postponed a game on Sept. 11 against Liberty County.
CHS principal Zanda Warren said that there have been three positive COVID-19 cases among students at the school and another 28 students have been quarantined as possible contacts.
One of the positive cases is a Hornets football player, with Warren and Cottondale head coach Chris Obert coming together Wednesday to decide to postpone the next two contests in response.
"We made the decision to err on the side of caution and to just do what we need to do to make sure everyone is kept as safe as possible," Warren said. "We just wanted to make sure the community was aware of the situation."
Said Obert: "It was just in the best interests of our players and their families to get away from it. We'll kind of take it week by week with the kids that are healthy and ready to go. It's just an unknown right now. We hadn't had any cases during the summer or during fall camp, so this was our first situation. Hopefully it will be our last."
Cottondale played its regular season opener last week, falling to Wewahitchka 33-18. Warren said the current plan is to resume the season on Sept. 25 when the Hornets are scheduled to play at Baker.
"I hope so," she said. "Football is very important to our players and to the community, so hopefully after we receive direction from the health department we'll get to resume playing."
The news was not only unfortunate for Cottondale but also for Bozeman, which was scheduled to open its season by welcoming in the Hornets on Sept. 18.
The Bucks are now left scrambling to try to fill the newly open date on short notice, though coach Jason Griffin spoke to Obert on Wednesday and said he was certainly empathetic to the Hornets' plight.
"It's not like we're not doing a little bit of that, too. We've had some players quarantined and had some positive cases, so we're kind of hanging on to the hope that it will be OK," he said. "It will be difficult to find somebody at this stage, but I completely understand where we're coming from. It can hit anyone anywhere at any time.
"These are all problems we as coaches all hoped wouldn't happen, but in the back of our minds we knew we would seem some of this as we go."
Despite the cases within the program, Griffin said that as of Wednesday if a game is found and scheduled for next week that the Bucks would be able to play.
If the Bucks can't find a game, Griffin suggested the possibility of doing a split-squad scrimmage in its place.
"We'll have to figure that out," he said. "If our situation worsened we could be in the same situation Cottondale is in. I think the world of Chris (Obert) and I know he's upset about having to cancel, but again I feel for him. Right now it's him, but it could just as easily be us."