Ann Arbor Huron joins growing list of football programs to cancel games amid COVID-19
More than 20 Michigan high school football teams have postponed games through the season's first three weeks, and that number continues to rise steadily amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association lists 22 games through the first three weeks that were recorded as 1-0 final scores, meaning the game was forfeited.
Almost all of those games are COVID-19-related, though at least one was because a team didn't have enough players because of a rash of injuries.
The number of COVID-19-affected programs, according to an MHSAA spokesman, is almost certainly higher, because some nonaffected teams were able to reschedule new opponents at the last minute to fill the scheduling void. But the MHSAA isn't keeping a detailed list.
Meanwhile, added to the list this week will be Ann Arbor Huron, which had a person with the program test positive, the Ann Arbor Public Schools learned Wednesday. The program will be suspended through at least Oct. 17. Additionally, Huron's opponent last week, Ann Arbor Pioneer, temporarily suspended activities out of precaution and was undergoing contact tracing Thursday. Athletic director Eve Claar said Pioneer will play this week's game at Monroe at 1 p.m. Saturday; the game originally was set for Friday, at Pioneer.
Also this week, Wyandotte Roosevelt and Saginaw Heritage canceled games because of COVID-19.
Other teams that have had to forfeit games through the first three weeks of the season: Calumet, Crystal Falls Forest Park, Dearborn Heights Star International, Escanaba, Grant, Hancock, Houghton, International Academy of Flint, Ishpeming, Ishpeming Westwood, Lake Linden-Hubbell, Manistee Catholic Central, Lakeview, Novi, Plainwell, Portage Central, Redford Union, St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic, Three Oaks River Valley (twice), Utica, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and Webberville.
Under state orders, players are required to wear a mask, though testing isn't done regularly for logistical and financial reasons. Schools are relying heavily on the word of players and parents.
The MHSAA originally planned to postponed its season to the spring, but amid eased restrictions from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, quickly organized a six-game regular-season schedule which now is halfway done.
All teams will qualify for the playoffs, provided they play at least four of the six regular-season games, though it's not yet clear if the finals will be at Ford Field in Detroit. Without much gate — as of now, prep football fan capacity is capped at 1,000 — both sides are working to see if it makes fiscal sense. If the eight championship games aren't at Ford Field, they'd likely move to eight different sites around the state, which would almost certainly mean Fox Sports Detroit wouldn't be able to broadcast all of them, or even the majority of them.
A decision on the finals is expected this week or next.