POSITIVE COVID TEST CANCELS HOMECOMING
AURORA - As a result of a positive COVID-19 test by a South Dearborn High School football player Monday, Friday's homecoming game with Greensburg and Backman Field dedication ceremonies have been cancelled.
SD athletic director Ryan Walston revealed late Monday night that the player in question had not been with the team since the previous Wednesday, Sept. 9, and did not travel to the Knights' 21-19 varsity win at Connersville Saturday afternoon.
"It couldn't be worse timing," Walston said. "Our kids, obviously, are crushed. They all were looking forward to homecoming and playing on our new artificial turf field. Everyone is disappointed. We've had a bad string of luck lately. But these are the times we live in."
As it stands not, SD's football team will be eligible to return from its 14-day quarantine period Wednesday, Sept. 23, which means it could miss both the Greensburg and East Central games, the latter slated for Sept. 18, also at home. Knights football also must complete 4 practices after the quarantine expires before it can return to the field of competition.
Walston noted that a possibility exists for the SD-East Central varsity football game to move to the following Monday night, Sept. 28, if both parties are agreeable. That would be the first possible date that South Dearborn football could resume play, if all goes well.
"We'll see how it plays out," Walston said. "All of our other fall sports still are 100 percent go. We're doing contact tracing at the present time to determine if anyone else had contact with the student. We've got a new million-dollar football field and we'd like to be able to play on it at some point this season."
SD head coach Rand Ballart actually was at Backman Field, preparing for Monday's scheduled JV game with Connersville, which also was canceled, when he learned of the situation.
"Funny you ask,but I was actually putting out the yard markers and pylons on the field for the JV game Monday afternoon. I literally just put the last G down and my phone rang. It was Mr. Walston, asking me to come over to central office.
"I had a bad feeling, because don’t get called to central office very often. Mr. Lows informed me of the positive test and we began to discuss the impact this would have on our program. It is correct, that the last contact we had with the individual was last week and no, he was not with us at Connersville."
Ballart felt bad for his players, especially the Knights seniors, when every fall sports team's worst fears were confirmed.
"Yes, the kids are very disappointed, but they understand this was always a possibility. We have a great group of seniors and upperclassmen. We have no doubt that they will continue to make sure everyone is doing their individual workouts and will make sure they are ready to get right back to work when we come back."
SD's head coach confirmed that football players are barred from physical contact, with each other and coaches, or any type of organized practices. Players will use eLearning guidelines to keep up with their classes during the layoff.
Ballart added: "All I know for sure at this moment is that we are able to return to practice on Wednesday, Sept. 23, and it can’t get here any sooner. I don’t think anyone could ever be prepared to go through something like this. My dad (retired Indiana Hall of Fame coach Rod Ballart), as you know, coached for 35-some years, and he has never had anything like this happen.
"All I can say is thank goodness for social media tools and the communication apps that we have, so we can continue to communicate with our kids and still keep them up to speed on what we are looking to do once we return."