| The News Herald
One of Bay County’s most anticipated rivalry games will not be played this season, as Thursday night’s scheduled meeting between Mosley (4-3) and Arnold (2-4) at Tommy Oliver Stadium was canceled late Thursday afternoon.
The game was called off due to “likely COVID-19 exposure at a local high school involving many members of the schools’ football team,” according to a statement from Bay District Schools.
The statement continued: “Out of an abundance of caution, and with the full support and guidance of local and state Department of Health officials, we have made the decision to cancel this evening’s game involving A. Crawford Mosley High School and J.R. Arnold High School. We recognize that this decision will be upsetting to many who were looking forward to this event but Bay District Schools is 100 percent committed to the safety and security of our students and staff and we are always going to follow the guidance of health experts when it comes to Covid-19.”
The statement didn’t identify which school was exposed, though both Mosley coach Jeremy Brown and athletic director Doug Lee confirmed that the Dolphins didn’t have any issues with COVID-19.
Brown said it was “devastating” to learn of the game’s cancellation, which came after the Dolphins had already had their pregame team meal.
“It’s very disappointing, but luckily all our kids are healthy and the coaches are healthy,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate the whole year that this hasn’t happened, but every week is like a game of Russian roulette. Every week you’re waiting to get that phone call. It’s unfortunate for it to happen in any game, but this game, a rivalry game, and potentially the last home game for the seniors, it hurts a little more.
“Just being Arnold, the kids have been saying all week how much they love competing against each other. It’s disappointing on a lot of levels, but these are the cards we’ve been dealt. I told the kids to count their blessings that we were able to get seven regular season games this year. Other teams didn’t have the good fortune to get that. We’ll pick up the pieces and start getting ready for St. Augustine next week.”
Neither Marlins coach Shawn Campbell nor athletic director Rick Green would confirm that the exposure was at Arnold, though if it was it would also put the Marlins’ scheduled playoff game against Baker County on Nov. 13 in jeopardy due to exposed players being forced to spend 14 days in quarantine.
For the time being, Campbell said his main thoughts were with his players, particularly his seniors, who won’t get to play in one of the biggest and most anticipated games of the season.
“I’m heartbroken for the kids,” he said. “I hate it for them. Our record doesn’t indicate how hard we work, but our guys work their butts off every day and they were looking forward to this opportunity. Mosley is a good football team, but our kids were looking forward to going out there tonight and challenging themselves.
“I’m really heartbroken for the seniors. It’s turned me upside down. Unfortunately this is life and these are lessons we have to go through. These are different times, so it’s just part of our life right now.”
This was the first game that either team has lost due to COVID-19 this season since starting play.