The football season at Capital is starting out the way last season ended, which isn’t a good thing.
All athletic events at Capital have been postponed until further notice, including the Cougars’ season-opening football game, a home contest scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday against Parkersburg South at University of Charleston Stadium, due to COVID-19 issues at Capital High School. All students at the school were put on remote learning through the end of the week due to 29 reported active cases.
Parkersburg South Athletic Director Jennifer Null told the Gazette-Mail Tuesday evening that the game has tentatively been moved to the Erickson All-Sports Facility in Parkersburg at 7 p.m. Monday. However, Null said, a final decision on whether to play or call off the game will be made Sunday evening by Kanawha County health and school officials.
Last season, due to COVID, Capital played just three football games, the fewest of any Class AAA team in West Virginia, going 1-2 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Early Tuesday evening, the Capital Cougar Athletics Twitter account released a statement saying all sporting events this week have been postponed until “further notice.’’ Capital had three games scheduled this week in boys soccer, three in girls soccer, a season opener in volleyball, a golf match and participation in a cross country meet.
The football game against South, however, is the most problematic because of limited available replacement dates in football season. First-year Cougars coach Mark Mason, said Tuesday evening that “it’s all up in the air right now,’’ but held out hope that the game could be played Monday, depending on what happens in the coming days with the school’s COVID situation. Of course, that could come at the expense of the Cougars not having practiced for a week.
Capital Principal Larry Bailey and Athletic Director Kyle Root did not immediately return phone calls from the Gazette-Mail.
Last year, the Cougars tried to get in one final regular-season game in early November in an attempt to qualify for the playoffs, but could not because they spent the final two weeks of the season in quarantine due to positive COVID tests.
Null also told the Gazette-Mail that if Kanawha health and school officials don't permit the game to be played Monday, then she will “have to look at and follow WVSSAC rules as far as procedure for COVID.''
Unlike last season, when games called off by COVID were ruled no contests by the Secondary School Activities Commission, with no wins or losses awarded, forfeits are possible this season if games with signed contracts cannot be rescheduled and teams can't fill the openings in their schedules.
South coach Nathan Tanner, fresh out of practice Tuesday evening, was unsure what path his program would follow if the game doesn't get played, but acknowledged that the schools did have a contract for the game.
"To be honest,'' Tanner said, "all this transpired close to 5 [p.m.] and then we practiced 6 to 8, so I haven't given it much thought past that. As of right now, we're planning to play Monday. If that doesn't happen, we will cross that bridge when we get to it.''