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Pottsgrove, Pope John Paul II postpone football game due to COVID-19

Pioneer Athletic Conference rivals Pottsgrove and Pope John Paul II were supposed to open their 2020 football seasons against each other on Friday night.

Instead both teams will have to wait for their opening kickoffs as Friday night’s game was postponed after a PJP football coach tested positive for COVID-19.

PJP notified Pottsgrove of a COVID-19 situation on its team Friday afternoon and after consultation with medical professionals from both the district and county, it was agreed to postpone Friday night’s game, according to a message from Pottsgrove Principal Bill Ziegler and Steve Anspach sent to parents and posted on the district’s website.

In a letter to parents and guardians, PJP principal Reverend Brian Kean disclosed that one of the school’s teachers who also serves as a coach on the varsity football team has tested positive for COVID-19, noting the decision to postpone Friday night’s game was made ‘out of an abundance of caution.’

“We’re still figuring it out,” PJP Athletic Director Joe Trainer said. “It’s still kind of new, and we want to figure out what’s best for all of the student-athletes involved on both sides and the coaches, and that was the decision that we made.”

 

Pottsgrove announced it is still trying to find a game in the upcoming days, possibly even Saturday. The Falcons will celebrate their Senior Day, which was supposed to take place Friday night, during their first football game.

At the moment, Pottsgrove is next scheduled to host Upper Merion next Friday, Oct. 16.

“We’re just kind of working through cancelling (the game) right now,” Anspach said. “There’s a lot of moving parts to canceling a game. We’re cancelling the game right now, and we’ll discuss whether we can find an opponent.”

 

While all of Pottsgrove’s fall sports other than football had returned to competition starting Sept. 25, Friday night’s football game was supposed to be just the second fall competition for any PJP fall sports program. The golf team had a match this past Tuesday.

The Golden Panthers’ other fall sports are scheduled to start their seasons beginning next Monday, Oct. 12, which Trainer does not expect to change.

“I think the whole thing’s so fluid,” Trainer said.  “Honestly, I don’t think it will (have impact on other sports), but with anything you pick up ESPN every morning, you get on the website there and teams are playing on Tuesday night or changing opponents.

“I think we’re all very eager to get back to the normalcy of playing competitions. I know this coming week we have a full slate of competitions coming up. That’s really our first week back with the soccers, cross countrys, volleyball and all of it. Right now, we anticipate resuming business as usual next week.”

Pottsgrove and PJP were set to become the seventh and eighth PAC football teams to take the field this fall. Friday night marks Week 3 of the season for Boyertown, Methacton, Owen J. Roberts, Perkiomen Valley, Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen.

Three more PAC teams are set to begin their seasons in the near future. The Upper Merion and Pottstown school boards recently approved a return to fall sports, while Phoenixville hopes to return to all fall sports next week, pending a school board decision next Monday, Oct. 12.

“Our game is canceled for tonight, more importantly, everyone is safe in the Pottsgrove and PJP communities because everyone involved did the right thing and followed protocol for the Covid-19 virus,” the Pottsgrove football account tweeted. “We thank PJP for their efforts and cooperation throughout this situation.”

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