SIDNEY — Sidney’s quest to get through the season without a COVID-19 shutdown fell just short.
The Yellow Jackets canceled their Week 10 matchup with Troy on Thursday due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the school. Coach Adam Doenges said over a dozen varsity players are quarantining due to the outbreak and the team didn’t have enough available to play the Trojans on Friday.
Doenges said he pulled players who were in school on Thursday out of classes to deliver the news.
“Obviously our situation is not unique, but it certainly hits home,” Doenges said. “Plenty of other coaches in plenty of sports have had to do this during the season, but it’s one thing to see it and hear about it and another to have to do it. It hits home to us now.
“It’s sad, but we don’t want to put any more of our players in jeopardy or put any of Troy’s players in jeopardy.”
Sidney almost got through its season without having to cancel a game. The Yellow Jackets had several players quarantine at different times during the season due to coming into direct contact with someone with COVID-19, but this is the first time many have been sidelined at the same time.
It’s far from the first time Sidney has had to deal with a COVID-19 shutdown, though. The Yellow Jackets had games against West Carrollton and Fairborn get canceled earlier this season dude to outbreaks at those schools but were able to either add an opponent or reshuffle the schedule to not miss playing those weeks.
“We’re grateful we got nine games in, but it still doesn’t make it any easier,” Doenges said. “We made a commitment to our guys to get 10 or more games in all the way back in May. In order to do that, we wanted to make sure we were doing it safely and responsibly.
“We got to a point where we can’t do it safely or responsibly this week, no matter how much it hurts our seniors and Troy’s players. We had to pull the plug.”
The Yellow Jackets, which were shorthanded in a 14-8 win over Vandalia-Butler last week, finish the season 5-4. They’ll lose 15 seniors to graduation, many of which were key players this year.
“They’ve done a tremendous job this season of just focusing on football,” Doenges said. “They weren’t worried about other things, whether it was COVID or pictures or homecoming or whatever. They’ve been very narrow-minded with a focus on, ‘We’re just going to worry about football, let’s go practice.’ They set a really good tone with that to get us through some tough parts of the season.
“I’m very appreciative of them for that, and that’s what I told them today. They’ve handled the whole thing well and they’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to the end and get to 10, but that’s an attribute to our senior class that we got this far. They did an awesome job.”
Sidney is the second Shelby County team to cancel a game due to a COVID-19 outbreak this season. Lehman Catholic canceled two games and also had its season finale scheduled for last week canceled by Waynesfield-Goshen due to a coronavirus outbreak.
The Yellow Jackets are also the fifth Miami Valley League squad to deal with an outbreak this season. Aside from West Carrolton and Fairborn, Troy was also forced to cancel a game due to an outbreak. Tippecanoe had an outbreak before the season started.
Troy was hoping to restart its season on Friday. The squad hasn’t played since Oct. 9, when it beat Columbus Franklin Heights 49-6 in a playoff game. The Trojans had a player test positive for COVID-19 a few days later and shut down all activities for two weeks. They resumed practice earlier this week.
“It’s not easy,” Doenges said. “My heart goes out to our seniors and to Troy’s seniors. Hopefully (Troy) can find a game and get one more memory of being on the field.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.