The Chadron High School football team received a setback on Friday, but it didn’t come on the field.
Late that morning, the school received a phone call from Valentine officials, stating that the Badgers football team would not be coming to Cardinal Field for the game that was due to kick off at 7 o’clock.
One of the Valentine players had come to school that day with a fever, wasn’t wearing a mask, was tested, and was found to have the coronavirus. He had already associated several of his teammates, as well as other students, and all would probably need to be quarantined. The bus trip to Chadron was called off.
A similar situation had occurred two weeks early when Valentine was to host Crofton in the season-opener for both teams. However, that time it was Crofton which wouldn’t make the trip because of the possibility of spreading the virus.
Cardinals’ Head Coach Mike Lecher also was involved in July when he was serving as an assistant coach and the East-West All-Star Football Game to be played in Scottsbluff was cancelled after it was learned that an East player had been in contact a few days earlier with someone who came down with the virus.
“These things are very disappointing, but that’s the way things are this season,” Lecher said. “We have to make sure the virus isn’t spread. I imagine things are going to continue being week-to-week all season.”
The Chadron-Valentine was one of at least four Nebraska high school games that were cancelled last weekend. Among the others was Kearney at North Platte.
Lecher said all the Cardinals’ program can do is get ready to play at Gering this Friday night.
The Cardinals are 2-0, defeating Chase County 26-0 and Gordon-Rushville 36-21. Gering is 0-3, scoring just nine points in three outings. Torrington won the season-opener 24-6, Grand Island Northwest prevailed 41-3 and Hastings blanked the Bulldogs 45-0 last Friday night.
The Gering football program has been struggling. The Bulldogs have won just three of their last 60 games dating back to 2013, but the Cardinals know they have to beware. One of the three wins came at Chadron’s expense in 2017, when the Cards lost their only regular season game 22-14 at Gering.
The Bulldogs’ only win since them is a 34-0 verdict over Torrington last fall, but Chadron won last year’s season-finale over Gering by just 28-21.
Gering has a new head coach this year. Danny O’Boyle, an all-state receiver for the Bulldogs as a senior in 2011 and later a star gridder at Chadron State, returned to Gering to take over the program this fall. Lecher notes that while finishing his degree at CSC, O’Boyle helped coach the Cardinals approximately four years ago.
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