The football team is winning games that it didn’t play. With COVID-19 becoming prominent again, teams are being forced to forfeit games because of COVID outbreaks and mandatory exclusion guidelines put in place by the Illinois High School Sports Association.
In the week-three matchup with Joliet Central, the Oswego Varsity football team took a forfeit win. With Joliet Central unable to participate in the contest because of a COVID outbreak among their athletes, the Oswego team was awarded a free win in conference play.
School District 308 is enforcing guidelines regarding COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the pandemic. When a large number of athletes test positive for COVID-19 School District 308 officials must make a decision on whether to cancel the teams game or not.
“[Since football games are extremely hard to reschedule], a team with a COVID situation would have to take a forfeit loss, and the other team would either take a forfeit win or play another team,” Mr. Darren Howard, the OHS Athletic Director, said. In other sports though, as long as the game is able to be rescheduled before the end of the season, then no team has to forfeit. But if the game is not able to be rescheduled, then the team that caused the original game to be canceled would have to take a forfeit loss.
However, the extra precautions do have their benefits.
“We’re able to pay attention more,” senior Tristan Stanton, a varsity football player at OHS, said. Because players have to be spread out when not doing drills, he said there are less distractions, which allow for the players to focus on the coaches more.
“We knew we were going to get a win, so it gave us more time to prepare for the next game,” Stanton said regarding the Joliet Central forfeit. The Joliet Central forfeit did not only mean that Oswego had more time to practice, but it also gave them a conference win, which could later decide playoff seedings.
In order to continue having friday night football, School District 308 is closely monitoring COVID situations. With massive efforts involving contact tracing and rapid tests everything possible is being done to keep the players safe.