If you have been following St. Helens High School football this season, you've likely noticed a disturbing number of forfeits.
The problem, according to head varsity coach Cory Young, can be traced to COVID-19 and quarantines.
The Lions team has been bitten with a number of forfeitures, dating back to an earlier game, Sept. 17, at Hillsboro.
More recently, games against North Salem, Oct. 8, and the following game against Wilsonville, were forfeited.
Speaking of the October games, Young said that due to the quarantine, there were not enough players to play on the varsity team. A couple of junior varsity games also had to be canceled.
To date, three positive COVID-19 cases have been reported among football players at St. Helens High. There were two 14-day quarantines for unvaccinated players on the varsity team and one 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated players on the junior varsity team.
14-day quarantines have been required for anyone diagnosed with the coronavirus and for those who were in close contact with the infected individual and haven't been fully vaccinated.
The forfeited games, according to Young, cannot be re-played.
The Friday, Oct. 22, home game against McKay is scheduled to be played, and players are ready to get back on the field.
"The team is chomping at the bit to get back under the lights. They have missed four weeks and four games over the season, and they understand more than ever how precious the time they have together as a team is," Young said. "With the majority of athletes being in quarantine the last two weeks, I was very pleased with the focus and sharpness they showed in practice during individual and team periods … great energy and physicality."
Young continued, "The players are frustrated with the missed opportunities this season, but have done very well on focusing on what is important right now, which is getting ready for McKay."
He noted, "During quarantine periods, we adjusted the length and structure of practice since we were down to anywhere from 12 to 14 players the last couple of weeks. We adapted and found creative ways to condition while continuing to build skills needed to successful on and off the field."
Asked if other teams in his conference or statewide have suffered from COVID-19 forfeitures, St. Helens High School athletic director Daunte Gouge said, "Most schools have at least one program quarantine."
COVID-19 quarantines make life difficult for sports teams missing players.
"Of course, it is a constant scramble," Gouge said, adding, "They (football players) just want to play."
Young says his team needs to follow health guidelines.
"It's county by county," Young said. "We just have to follow what's told us by our county on how we're going to do it."
Asked how he is affected by these forfeitures, Young said, "It's not so much about me, it's about the kids. You can see the frustration in them. They only want to play and missing those games is time they're never going to get back."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.