COVID-19 concerns scrap Menendez-St. Augustine rivalry game


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Menendez football team’s game at rival St. Augustine Friday night has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns as several players and coaches became ill.

The St. Johns County School District said Wednesday afternoon that it did not have an official diagnosis other than that several players and coaches had become sick. Later Wednesday, the Clay County District Schools announced that Keystone Heights would have its football team shelved through Oct. 9 due to possible exposure to COVID-19 cases.

It marks the second time in as many weeks that an area football team has been forced to cancel a game due to coronavirus quarantine measures or concerns. Clay High had to cancel last week’s game at Palatka due to players having to quarantine.

In a letter to parents and students, Menendez principal Clay Carmichael said: “Due to health concerns with several varsity football players and coaches PMHS regrets to inform you that the remainder of this week’s football practices as well as Friday night’s game has been canceled. We will communicate all appropriate information as it becomes available. Thank you in advance for your understanding."

The Yellow Jackets (1-2) and Falcons (1-2) have met every season since 2001. St. Augustine’s junior varsity team faced Menendez in 2000, the school’s first year. The rivalry game is annually one of the biggest for each program.

“They’ve got kids with symptoms and until they know what they’re dealing with, they’re not comfortable practicing, playing,” said St. Augustine coach Brian Braddock. “[Playing them] It’s just not in the cards this week.”

Braddock was hoping that he could find the Yellow Jackets a replacement opponent on short notice.

In addition to Clay’s football cancellation last week, members of the Clay volleyball team also had to cancel games due to quarantine requirements.

Columbia lost its Week 5 opponent this week, Gainesville, due to a COVID-19 cancellation. It was able to pick up Tallahassee’s Florida State University School as a replacement game. Eagle’s View was also looking for an opponent after losing its game to Ocala St. John Lutheran this week, too.

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