COVID concerns force cancellation of St. Mary’s jamboree tonight

After hastily adjusting from Tuesday’s cancellation of the Natchitoches jamboree due to COVID issues, and finding an opponent for a jamboree tonight, the St. Mary’s football team is sitting it out.

Head coach Aaron York had arranged for his Tigers to travel to Minden to face another Class A program, Glenbrook School. When contact tracing and quarantines sidelined more players Thursday, York chose to pull the plug on tonight’s outing.

“For the safety of our players, our scrimmage with Glenbrook has been cancelled. Although this is not the ideal situation, I feel like cancelling is in the best interest of our program moving into the regular season,” said York.

When the Natchitoches jamboree was cancelled Tuesday, with Lakeview and St. Mary’s slated to play, Lakeview coach Brandon Helms decided to sit out any matchup this week in an abundance of caution.

York pivoted and quickly set up the trip to Glenbrook, a team that was originally slated to play the NCHS junior varsity. Most of the Tigers’ younger players were already idled by COVID issues, leaving SMHS with 18 players – nearly all more experienced veterans who were the starters.

But as the situation evolved, Thursday it became apparent to York that the Tigers would have too thin a squad to play tonight and the best move was to cancel, hoping for enough to be cleared and resume action next week as the regular season starts.

Early this month, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association announced a policy mirroring those adopted by the NFL and the NCAA, which requires teams unable to play in a regular season game due to COVID issues to be assigned a forfeit loss.

In 2020, teams were able to record a “no contest” instead of a forfeit, creating less damage to their power points that figure into playoff qualification. However, it became apparent in all sports that some teams were claiming COVID implications when they were actually unwilling to face stronger opponents and lose, leading to the revised 2021 policies.

None of the three parish high schools will play tonight in jamborees, hoping to get enough players through contact tracing and quarantines so they will be able to compete in season openers next Friday.