COVID-19 flips football schedule

By Kevin Eickman

It has been a concern that every fall sports program in Delaware has had all season long, COVID reaching in and disrupting athletics. That was just the case this past week as the Smyrna at Milford football game scheduled for last Thursday (Nov. 19) was postponed, due to a Milford player testing positive for the illness. With protocols in place, Milford will be self-quarantining and monitoring its players, with the hopes of getting the final two games of the season in.

This upcoming week the Buccaneers were slated to travel to Lake Forest for the annual “Battle of the Bell” on Thanksgiving morning. As of this writing, that game has been moved to Monday afternoon on Nov. 30 (no visiting spectators allowed) at 5 p.m. “It’s not the ideal situation, but we are hoping that the rest of the team is cleared and we can at least get a practice in on the Saturday prior to the game,” Milford Athletic Director Ryan Winkleblech said.

If the Buccaneers are cleared to play, it will be a short week as they are currently scheduled to travel to Sussex Central to close out the season on Friday, Dec. 4. There is hope that the game may be pushed back to that Saturday, giving Milford a little extra time to prepare. “We have reached out to Sussex Central trying to get the game moved. Obviously, this is dependent on what other events they may have going on, so we will have to see what happens,” Winkleblech said.

No matter how it turns out, this is just another indication of the new normal. Milford wasn’t the first and probably won’t be the last to have to reconfigure its schedule. “We have to keep in mind what this is all about. This is about keeping our students safe and making sure that we contain the virus as best we can. Nobody wants to do this, but it is our obligation to ensure student safety,” Winkleblech said.

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