Some counties will be able to hold on to their existing football schedules, while others will again resort to a game of musical chairs following the update to the Department of Education’s School Alert System map on Saturday.
For the first time this season, Kanawha, Putnam, Cabell and Jackson counties are all gold on the color-coded map that determines the COVID-19 risk for in-person classes and athletics in each of the state’s 55 counties. Sports teams in gold counties are permitted to practice, but can only play games against schools that are also at the gold level.
Thus, Kanawha County can keep its previously planned schedule of four games for its eight high schools this week, which begins Monday with Capital at St. Albans and concludes Tuesday with South Charleston at George Washington, Riverside at Sissonville and Herbert Hoover at Nitro. All those games kick off at 7 p.m.
Putnam County, however, wasn’t as fortunate with its schools. Because its opponents are at a different color level, Hurricane’s home game with Oak Hill (green) and Buffalo’s home game with Tolsia (yellow) can’t be played. Winfield will go ahead with its Friday game at Huntington, since both counties are gold. Poca did not have a game scheduled, but was working on a replacement following Saturday’s map update, as were Hurricane and Buffalo.
Another casualty was Friday’s Spring Valley at Cabell Midland game, which would have matched two of the top teams in Class AAA and the Mountain State Athletic Conference. With Wayne County being at the yellow level, that game was called off. Spring Valley, though, found an immediate replacement with a game Friday at Oak Hill.
Wayne, another school in Wayne County, was able to keep its Friday home game with Chapmanville, and also added another contest Monday at Lincoln County with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Other gold counties around the state on the updated map were Berkeley, Barbour and Randolph. Four counties were orange, which means limited practice and no games — Doddridge, Harrison, Mingo and Upshur. No counties were in red, which mandates no games and no practice.