The annual Marshfield-North Bend football game was canceled this week due to a COVID-19 quarantine situation in North Bend.
Marshfield was able to schedule another game, against Prairie High School of Vancouver, Wash. The Pirates and Falcons will meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Sheldon High School in Eugene.
“We have a couple of athletes that are (COVID) positive but we also have a large number of football players in quarantine because they had close contact with an infected individual,” North Bend athletic director Mike Forrester said. “In the end, we just do not have enough athletes to play football on Friday.
“This is really unfortunate for the athletes from both schools, especially the seniors.”
Marshfield and North Bend have managed to continue playing every year even as the two teams have been in different leagues for several stretches in recent years. They played during the spring season and had been looking forward to this week’s game.
“We feel pretty disappointed,” said Marshfield coach John Lemmons.
But he was looking forward to the challenge of playing Prairie, a school much larger than Marshfield with its own successful football team.
“They’re a very good team,” Lemmons said.
“If we play well, we can hang with them,” added Marshfield athletic director Greg Mulkey, who is also an assistant coach for the football team.
Marshfield is ranked first in Class 4A after its wins over defending state champion Mazama and Class 5A Churchill.
Prairie has a pair of wins as well, 44-6 over Washougal and 52-14 over Centralia.
North Bend is coming off its first win of the season, over Ashland. The Bulldogs now look forward to their next scheduled game, which is two weeks away on Oct. 1 at Churchill. They had been scheduled to play South Eugene next week, but the Axe canceled their season before it began.
Forrester hopes North Bend will have enough players available long before then.
“There aren’t many athletes that have tested positive for COVID, but it’s the ‘close contact’ that is tough to get away from,” Forrester said. “A simple touch can be close contact or if you are in a locker room or ride on a bus close to someone that tests positive, it requires people to quarantine.”
North Bend isn’t the only South Coast school that lost its game this week to COVID-19 quarantine. Coquille has been forced to forfeit its league opener at Lakeview because of a quarantine situation with its football team.