Wallace-Rose Hill cleared to play in 2A state title game

Members of the Wallace-Rose Hill football team celebrate their 2A state championship in 2017 (Brett Friedlander / North State Journal)

The Wallace-Rose Hill High School football team has been cleared to play in the NCHSAA 2A state championship game against Shelby on Saturday.

The Bulldogs’ particulation in the game, scheduled for 3 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium, was cast in doubt on Thursday when it was reported that multiple team members had tested positive for COVID-19.

Fears that more players and or staff members might also be affected were eased on Friday after the remainder of the team was tested. Although the results of those tests were not made public, the Duplin County Health Department and Duplin County Schools issued a joint statement giving Wallace-Rose Hill the go-ahead to play.

“The COVID-19 screening protocol for the Wallace-Rose Hill High School football program was completed this morning,” the statement said. “We are excited to announce that tomorrow’s 2A NCHSAA State Football Championship Game will proceed as scheduled. Thank you to everyone involved for your collaboration and support.”

Coach Kevin Motsinger’s Bulldogs (13-2) are seeking their eighth state championship and first since 2017. Shelby (14-1) has won six 2A and 2AA titles since 2013 and 11 overall.  

“As they have been doing, school officials will continue to work with the Duplin County Health Department to determine the best course of action for their student-athletes and community to slow the spread of COVID-19,” NCHSAA executive director Que Tucker said in a statement on Thursday. “We hope that there are not more positive tests and are praying for the speedy recovery of those individuals who have already tested positive.”

The 2A game between Wallace-Rose Hill and Shelby is one of four state championship games to be contested this weekend. 

Cardinal Gibbons takes on Charlotte Chambers in the 4A game Saturday at 7 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium. At Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, J.H. Rose of Greenville meets Greensboro Dudley for the 3A title on Friday at 7 p.m., and Tarboro plays Mitchell County for the 1A crown at noon on Saturday.