From the gridiron to the courtroom, high school playoffs take a COVID timeout

High School Football

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The fate of New York’s Far West high school football title has shifted from the gridiron into the courtroom.

Bennett High School was scheduled to take on the representative from Rochester, but COVID-19 has caused a timeout.

At least 10 of the players from McQuaid Jesuit High School tested positive for COVID-19 just days before the game scheduled for last Saturday.

Erie County health officials determined all but about 20 of the McQuaid players would have sit it out, so McQuaid took the county to court.

The Bennett Tigers were all set to play the McQuaid Knights out of Rochester, Saturday for the Class AA Far West regional title at Williamsville South – but at least 9 players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19, and the state high school Athletic Association postponed the game until Tuesday night.

The Erie County Health Department would only allow vaccinated players in the game, McQuaid wanted to include their players who tested negative – and buffalo public schools wanted the Rochester team to forfeit.

McQuaid went to court and got a restraining order.

“We would have allowed the game to be played on Saturday by any of McQuaid’s players that were vaccinated and symptom-free,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “Unfortunately, McQuaid did not like that decision, and they went to court to overrule what has been the standard in Erie County for all schools since schools re-opened this past year.”

A spokesman for McQuaid released a statement earlier today saying the school has been in contact with health officials from the Erie and Monroe counties, to ensure every precaution has and will be taken so that both teams compete in a safe environment.

The delay has allowed the school to test every player, coach and manager – and they have all tested negative 5 separate times.

Due to the tight timetable, a state judge granted the restraining order McQuaid asked for on Saturday just hours before the game was to be played.

A hearing on the merits is set for Tuesday morning, and the re-scheduled game is on tap for Tuesday night.

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