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LAWRENCEBURG - News that South Dearborn's homecoming football game and Backman Stadium dedication Friday night has been cancelled was followed Tuesday afternoon by the announcement that Lawrenceburg's game at Franklin County Friday also is a no-go.

Rather than a case of COVID-19 outbreaks spreading like wildfire between conference schools, this one was more or less expected by the football Tigers.

"It does not look like we'll be playing," said LHS head coach Ryan Knigga a short time before the word became official around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

"Franklin County's JV team was quarantined last week, and they went to East Central (for Friday's varsity game) with only 20 kids. They had a few get hurt, and a few who were not at school Monday due to having symptoms."

With little time left to find another idle team looking to fill Friday's schedule spot, LHS athletic director Mark Pierson faced some last-minute scrambling. Tigers were fortunate to succeed in filling a Week 2 schedule opening in August when Taylor (Ohio) was unable to play, plugging the gap with Mt. Healthy (Ohio).

"We are looking for a game Friday, but it's probably not going to happen," Knigga said. "We've been shot down multiple times."

Football Tigers (3-1) currently are ranked No. 6 in the IFCA coaches association's Class 3A state poll and 11th in the Associated Press 3A media poll.

Franklin County, 2-1 after last week's short-handed 36-12 loss to Class 4A No. 5-ranked East Central, is ranked 13th in this week's AP Class 3A poll.

The Wildcats, coached by Wes Gillman, lost their first two games this season due to positive COVID-19 tests at New Castle and Connersville high school, but was able to fill the Week 2 opening with Class 2A Winchester, winning 50-7 on the road.

Athletic director Pierson, speaking late Tuesday, said Lawrenceburg’s last-second search for a Friday opponent wasn’t looking good.

“We’ve contacted Frankfort, Mitchell and Scecina (Memorial, Indianapolis), but none of them showed any interest in playing,” he said. “Unless something happens at the last minute, we’ll probably just call it a bye week - practice, rest up and get our kids healthy.”

Knigga had these thoughts about South Dearborn’s dilemma prior to the Tigers joining them on the sidelines:

“I feel really bad for any team that must quarantine and cut two weeks outs of their season. I feel really bad for the South Dearborn football players, coaches and community. They had a very special night planned to open their field, and that is not going to happen this week. I know they are disappointed, but they will get there soon.

“There is no script for this. You can only do what you think is right for your team and take all precautionary measures. I feel our kids and everyone involved are doing what we can to limit our chances. With that being said, no one is exempt. We could easily be in the same boat as SD. We hope not, but who knows? We just focus on the things we can control. We can't control COVID-19, so we focus on our task at hand each week. Which is, be smart, keep your circle small, mask-up and prepare for the next game.”

The Dearborn County Register & Journal Press

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     Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
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