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J. Thomas McNamara

      The Tuscola football team is pausing all activities until Oct. 11 in response to COVID-19 issues.

School officials announced their decision this morning (Thursday) than 48 hours before a scheduled Week 6 Central Illinois Conference game at Clinton.

“Due to a surge in COVID-positive cases among our players and many others in quarantine as a result of contact tracing, we are shutting down all football activities for 10 days, starting (Thursday),” reads a post on the Tuscola athletics Twitter account. “We will resume practice on Columbus Day and plan to complete the remaining schedule.

“Our hearts are broken for our players, coaches and the families of both groups. We hate it for our opponents at all levels who will lose opportunities to play as well. We look forward to recovering and resuming activities on 10/11.”

The Warriors (2-3) may be unable to qualify for the IHSA postseason as a result of this decision. They’ll forfeit their Week 6 game with Clinton as well as their Week 7 showdown with St. Teresa and can max out at four victories if they win in Weeks 8 and 9 upon returning to activity. Teams typically are required to win five games in order to crack the playoffs.

Tuscola’s  news is the latest in a series of troubles for some local prep football teams.

Urbana, Sullivan/Okaw Valley and Watseka all are forgoing the reminder of their varsity schedules because of athlete turnout concerns. Multiple area programs have lost games because of COVID-19 issues — either among their team or with the opposition. In fact, Clinton and Argenta-Oreana each have forfeited their previous two contests for that reason.

I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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