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COVID puts an end to fall sports

No volleyball playoffs; Section football play ended on November 20

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Nov 22, 2020

An increase in COVID cases put an end to the USC football season this year.

High school and youth sports came to a screeching halt last week with the announcement by Governor Tim Walz on Wednesday night, Nov. 18, that those activities were done beginning 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 through Friday, Dec. 18.

Because of this the Section 2AA football championship game was held Friday night, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. between the host Blue Earth Area Buccaneers and the Maple River Eagles. (Look for a story on that contest in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register). There will be no volleyball playoffs.

For some schools, their fall sports seasons ended even earlier.

Due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their school, the United South Central Rebels were forced to cancel their remaining volleyball games and the football team was unable to play any section playoff games. This happened before the governor’s announcement.

USC was not alone in having to end their seasons prematurely.

Big South Conference member St. Peter also shut down early along with Section 2AA member Le Sueur-Henderson.

Make no mistake, COVID-19 does not care who you are. Caledonia, the five-time defending Class 2AA football champion, was also sent to the sidelines because of the pandemic.

“We recognize the recent rise in positive cases and the impacts on communities and schools,” Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) executive director Erich Martens said. “Our schools have been addressing positive cases and close contacts, adjusting learning models and making difficult decisions regarding programs.”

The governor’s announcement meant there will also be a delay to the possible beginning of winter sports seasons.

“We all know how important these programs are to students and to their mental and physical health and we all want students to participate,” Martens commented. “We believe League programs offered by our member schools provide the safest and most effective experiences and yet, at this time, we are required to take a pause. We look forward to returning to in-person participation in our winter sports and fine arts activities when these restrictions are lifted.”

The MSHSL is providing additional guidance to member schools regarding winter sports and fine arts activities. MSHSL staff continues to work with others to study options for the remaining winter seasons as well as those scheduled to begin this spring.

“We will continue to build a revised calendar of activities which meets our goals of providing the greatest possible experience in every one of the activities provided by the League,” Martens continued. “We appreciate the excellent work of our schools and staff in following the guidance provided and implementing protocols that keep students, coaches, officials and others safe and we are confident that they will continue to do so when programs return.”