Game over: McQuaid loses state playoff football game delayed by COVID

High School Football

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WROC) — A New York State Supreme Court ruled that a postponed playoff high school football game would go on as scheduled Tuesday night.

McQuaid Jesuit High School and Bennett High School in Buffalo were set to play in the Class AA West Title game on Saturday, but several players and a McQuaid coach tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

As a result, the New York State High School Athletic Association postponed the game until Tuesday.

Buffalo Public Schools argued that McQuaid should forfeit the contest, but in the courtroom, a judge ruled the game would be played.

McQuaid ultimately lost, 14 to 26.

NYSPHSAA Statement

The NYSPHSAA far west region football game between McQuaid Jesuit and Bennett High School will be
played this evening at Williamsville South High School at 6:00 PM. This game was originally scheduled to
be played on Saturday, November 20th.

Last Week, McQuaid Jesuit notified the New York State Public High School Athletic Association
(NYSPHSAA) that several members of their football team had tested positive for COVID-19. There was a
total of 11 cases, 9 student-athletes and two coaches. According to the Monroe County Department of
Health, they were closely monitoring the situation in accordance with New York State regulations. As a
result, team activities were put on pause based on their directive.

The football game was postponed by NYSPHSAA due to a temporary restraining order filed by McQuaid
Jesuit, which prevented the Erie County Department of Health from enforcing New York State
Department of Health (NYSDOH) regulations relating to close contact quarantine requirements. Early
Saturday morning, NYSPHSAA learned McQuaid Jesuit intended to participate in the regional football
game in direct violation of Erie County’s directive, which would have only permitted fully vaccinated,
asymptomatic players and coaches who had received a negative COVID test to participate.
Prior to a temporary restraining order filed NYSPHSAA was prepared to award a forfeit victory to
Bennett High School if McQuaid refused to abide by local health department requirements. According to
NYSPHSAA legal counsel, forfeiture of McQuaid was not an option due to the signed temporary
restraining order, despite the fact that Erie County directive was in place to protect the health and
safety of all involved.

NYSPHSAA has and will continue to work with representatives from the NYSDOH, the Erie County
Department of Health and the Monroe County Department of Health to bring resolution to this
situation. Unfortunately, there was a lack of consensus amongst health officials until today.
The Association had no legal grounds to call the game and therefore had to reschedule it to tonight in
anticipation of a judge’s decision

“At this time, we have been forced to respond to a series of events impacting student-athletes involving
court action and a lack of consistency pertaining to county and state health regulations, said
Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “NYSPHSAA’s role is to provide participation
opportunities for nearly 600,000 student-athletes in a fair, equitable and safe manner. Health officials
have concluded that it is now safe and appropriate for students to play the game in Erie County after
examining New York State regulations. This is not only concerning, but disappointing that studentathletes have been subjected to a debate pertaining to established health regulations. There continues
to be calls to have the game forfeited in favor of the Buffalo Bennett team. Unfortunately, the
temporary restraining order removed NYSPHSAA’s ability to act upon McQuaid’s insistence to violate
the Erie County of health regulations.”

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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