Concord vs Northridge Football 6

Concord junior Anthony Trudell (5) finds open field as Northridge sophomore Collin Heynis (23) tries to cut him off at Northridge High School in this Oct. 9 file photo.

The Concord High School football team had to forfeit Friday night’s sectional semifinal game against South Bend Adams due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a press release from the school Friday afternoon.

Concord Athletic Director Dave Preheim released the following press release Friday around 1:30 p.m.:

“This afternoon, Concord High School became aware of a situation involving potential COVID-19 exposure to several members of our football team. We immediately communicated this information to district administration and the Elkhart County Health Department. Additionally, we have a number of other players who are already quarantined due to contract tracing for other situations both in and out of school.

“Because of the number of players affected, and an abundance of caution, tonight’s football game vs. South Bend Adams is canceled and will not be rescheduled. South Bend Adams will advance to next week’s sectional championship game.

“We are disappointed to have to make this decision, but believe the safety of our students, staff, and opponents must come first.”

Concord football coach Craig Koehler said it was hard for him to put into words the emotions he was feeling after the decision was made. He told The Goshen News that if they had tried to play Friday, they would’ve been without 20-25 players.

“Very difficult to put your finger on how you feel,” Koehler said. “Very, very difficult to pinpoint emotions right now. There’s several kids from our team that I haven’t seen since Monday. We already had 14 or 15 kids quarantined. It’s, obviously, not good. The fact I can’t even be with the kids right now ... it’s very difficult to put into words how you feel.”

The Minutemen finished the season with a 4-4 record. They didn’t play last week because of playing in a four-team sectional.

Given the timing of the news, Koehler said there wasn’t adequate time for the school to determine who should and should not be in quarantine. This could’ve provided an unsafe environment for both Concord and Adams players, forcing the cancelation.

Koehler said they would’ve had enough football players to play Friday night, but the timing of when they found out who close contacts were prevented them from making a plan to be able to play the game safely.

“We at least can say that we got through the regular season and ended our last game all together,” Koehler said. “... If you’re not able to overcome (the quarantine), is that the way you want to end it? With multiple seniors not even in attendance and you end with a loss? I guess that’s what I mean when I say it’s hard to put your finger on what you’re feeling. There’s so many layers and so many variables spinning around in your brain.”

COVID-19 has affected the Concord school district already this week, as it was previously announced they would be moving back to a hybrid learning schedule starting this Monday. Coronavirus case numbers have been steadily increasing in Elkhart County, Indiana and the entire country the past couple of weeks, causing numerous cancellations and postponements of sporting events throughout the country.

Austin Hough can be reached at austin.hough@goshennews.com or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.

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