STANLY COUNTY — Less than a month into the 2021 high school football campaign, the effects of COVID-19 protocols have already begun to make a grim impact on the season’s outlook.
Three out of the four Stanly County teams were missing in action this past Friday night as quarantine precautions forced game cancellations.
Only South Stanly — playing at South Davidson (0-2, 0-0 Central Carolina) — was able to participate in its scheduled contest. Coming off three consecutive losses, the Bulls (1-3, 0-0 Yadkin Valley) notched their first win of the year with a 21-16 victory.
“It was great to get our first win — that’s for sure,” South Stanly coach Ryan Ochier said. “We saw some things with South Davidson where we knew we’d have the middle wide open. We had some opportunities to get the ball to Omaurion (Eldridge), so the film paid off in the long run.”
Eldridge led the Bulls with 188 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. The junior was the primary target of senior quarterback Trevor Tucker, who finished with 224 passing yards from his eight completions.
Ochier confirmed that while his junior varsity team will play, his varsity squad will have to skip Friday’s scheduled home game versus Central Davidson (3-0, 0-0 Mid-Piedmont).
“Between quarantine and injuries, we’re going into the game with only 12 starters,” he said. “We’ll have two weeks to heal and rest up and come back strong against Mount Pleasant (3-1, 0-0 Yadkin Valley) on Oct. 1.”
On Friday, West Stanly (2-0, 0-0 Rocky River) endured the second part of its two-game quarantine. The Colts announced Sept. 1 that their team would be shut down for two weeks.
After starting the season with wins over South Stanly and Albemarle (0-3, 0-0 Yadkin Valley), the Colts were originally scheduled to play Mount Pleasant and North Stanly (1-2 Yadkin Valley) in back-to-back weeks. West Stanly will return to action Friday with a home matchup against nonconference opponent Oak Grove (2-1, 0-0 Mid-Piedmont).
Due to the Colts’ quarantine, North Stanly had no opponent this past Friday. Coming off a close loss to North Rowan (2-1, 0-0 Central Carolina), the Comets were looking to get back in the win column but will now have to wait until Friday’s home contest with Randleman (0-3, 0-0 PAC-7).
Meanwhile, Albemarle’s upcoming matchup with Southwestern Randolph (3-0, 0-0 PAC-7) has been canceled due to a two-week quarantine. The Bulldogs will get back to the field Sept. 24 when they host Anson (0-3, 0-0 Rocky River).