JONESBORO — Westside has canceled Friday night’s high school football game at Hoxie because of COVID-19 issues, Warrior head coach Bobby Engle said Tuesday.
Engle said his team has 10 players in quarantine. After spending time trying to figure out a way to restructure his team’s lineup to play this week, Engle decided Westside does not have the depth at the affected positions to take the field Friday.
“With that many guys out, it was really hard to adjust to get guys in spots. I would have been playing most of the guys out of position, and it would have probably been more of a danger to put those guys in that position,” Engle said. “The overall safety of the game, for the kids who would be playing, you have to weigh in all those factors. If I could put a team on the field, I’m going to, I’ve done it before. We just couldn’t do it.”
Engle said he informed Hoxie coach Tom Sears late Monday afternoon that the Warriors will not be able to play this week.
The game will not be made up. With the timing of the quarantines, Engle said the Warriors would not have enough preparation time to play next week when both teams are scheduled to have an open date.
“We’re looking at having two weeks off before conference play starts. We wouldn’t get these guys back until midweek next week or we might have tried to make it up then, but we’re not going to have enough practice time with those guys to even be able to do that,” Engle said. “It will just be a two-week bye period for us going into conference play. I don’t like that because we’re missing a lot of game reps. Hopefully we can get really focused in the next two weeks and dial it up in practice and for the most part simulate what we’re missing.”
Engle said Westside will have enough players available for some drills without the 10 who are in quarantine. The Warriors open 4A-3 conference play Sept. 24 at Trumann.
“I’ll have enough guys to get a little bit in, but you’re still missing 10 guys. A lot of guys are going to get some reps that they might not get (in games), which is good practice-wise,” Engle said. “Just in case this situation happens again, we might be a little bit better prepared for it.”
Sears said he has checked with several schools about filling the opening on Hoxie’s schedule, preferably on Sept. 17 to allow sufficient preparation time. “I’d really like to fill it next week if we could,” he said.