Tuesday, the Anderson County School system announced that football operations at Clinton High School have been suspended for the next two weeks, halting practices and canceling each of the next two Dragon home games. Coach Darell Keith confirmed this morning that a “couple of players” had gotten sick.
In its announcement on social media Tuesday, ACS said that the decision was made out of an “abundance of caution and following the ACS COVID-19 protocols…In doing this the Meigs County and Powell football games are canceled. Any tickets that have been purchased will be refunded through the website.”
Reached this morning for his reaction to Tuesday’s announcement, Coach Keith said, “I mean, I was disappointed, you know, but the health of the student-athlete and the student body comes first.”
WYSH asked Coach Keith if he was confident that the team will be able to resume its activities after the pause, and he replied, “I’m pretty confident we will get to Oak Ridge. I think we’lll follow all the protocols that should be followed, and all our student-athletes are online right now in class.”
Coach Keith also praised the school administration’s response and the support the program has received from the Central Office. “Great job by the administration, having all that stuff put into place [in case] things like this happened, so we are making the best of a bad situation.”
From a football perspective, Coach Keith indicated that he was not concerned so much with losing the “buy-in” from his players as they adjust to their third coach in four years, as he was with the effect that the time off will have on conditioning and timing.
Tuesday’s announcement means that this week’s scheduled home game against Meigs County, and next Friday’s region opener against Powell have been canceled.
Under the TSSAA “Return to Play” guidelines for football games canceled (included at the end of this article), the Dragons will not be penalized with a “loss” or a “forefit,” but instead will be assigned a “no contest,” and non-Region Meigs County will pick up a so-called “COVID win” that will be applied to their overall record.
For the Powell game, Clinton will receive a “no contest” in the official standings while Powell will be awarded a victory to be applied to its overall and region records.
Coach Keith had this to say to fans of Clinton High School football, addressing their participation in Friday’s game against Halls, and providing a message of optimism: “The fans just as much to do with the kids playing hard as the coaching we provided. They were fantastic, I mean, the noise they made, the enthusiasm they brought to the table, it really benefitted us. The kids felt like they were well-supported. We’ll see you guys in two weeks and we’ll be just as enthusiastic when we play Oak Ridge in our stadium, and there can’t be a better setting than that.”
TSSAA “Return to Play”
Football – TSSAA Regulations require teams to play a district/region schedule for playoff purposes. Regular season standings and the building of postseason brackets are done by TSSAA staff which creates the need for consistency on how cancellations are handled. Therefore, the following procedures are in place when a team is unable to play due to a COVID 19 outbreak or school system mandate.
Region Game- The game will go on record as a no contest for the school that is unable to play due to the outbreak or school system mandate. The school that could have played will receive a region win and overall win in the standings if the school can not replace the game with a new opponent on the same week it was originally scheduled to occur. If the school that could have played does replace the game with another opponent on the same week it was originally scheduled to occur, the school receives a Region win in the standings and the outcome of the game will be used in the overall standings.
Non Region Game- The game will go on record as a no contest for the school that is unable to play due to the outbreak or school system mandate. The school that could have played will receive a win in the overall standings if the game is not replaced. If the school that could play does replace the game with another opponent, the outcome of the game will be used in the overall standings.