Polk County’s football season has come to a halt.
Due to a positive COVID-19 test of a player within the program who practiced earlier this week, all varsity and junior varsity players who attended those practices will be quarantined for 10 days as per Polk County Health Department and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services protocols.
That means that Polk County’s final two regular-season games – Friday’s scheduled game at Mitchell and the April 9 home game with Mountain Heritage – as well as its final two junior varsity games have been cancelled. With playoff seeding set for April 10, rescheduling either game for beyond that date wasn’t an option.
“Certainly, we’re very disappointed that we’re not going to get to play these games,” said Polk County head football coach Bruce Ollis. “We’re concerned first and foremost about the health of everyone on our football team, and hopefully this will be an isolated incident.”
Polk County is the third Western Highlands Conference team to enter COVID-19 protocols this season, joining Avery and Madison. Those three schools are the only Western North Carolina schools thus far this season to have games affected by COVID-19.
With its final two games cancelled, Polk County will finish the regular season 4-1 overall, 3-0 in Western Highlands Conference play. Mitchell, at 2-0 in the WHC standings, could also finish 3-0 with a win in its April 9 game with Avery.
How the North Carolina High School Athletic Association will determine the league’s automatic berth and how the teams will be seeded remains to be seen.
“Certainly, we wanted to settle it on the field,” Ollis said. “I’m glad Mitchell will be able to play this week (the Mountaineers are playing a non-conference game at Forest Hills).
“Our season is not over. We’re going to get through this, and we’re looking forward to being back together on April 10 and finding out where we’ll be playing in the playoffs.”