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Hoping Teams Get to Compete

Residents of Ohio and Marshall counties will be big winners if three local high school football teams are cleared to participate in state championship playoffs this weekend, regardless of how the scoreboard reads.

As we have reported, the Wheeling Park, Wheeling Central Catholic and John Marshall high school teams are scheduled to compete Sunday — but whether they will do so remains a question.

COVID-19 has grown worse in our area. Unless the disease’s rate of spread drops substantially, state rules may ban the three local teams from playing on Sunday. That would remove them from contention for state titles.

Even if they do play, the Monarchs, Maroon Knights and Patriots may go into their first-round games at a disadvantage. That is because, again due to state COVID-19 rules, members of the teams are permitted to practice this week — but without the player-to-player contact that is an important part of preparing for a game.

Another disadvantage is the stress of not knowing, perhaps until as late as Saturday afternoon, whether they will be able to play Sunday.

It all depends on whether we in Marshall and Ohio counties can get better control of COVID-19. If the rate of spread goes down, our teams will play. If it does not, they will have to sit out the Sunday games.

Clearance to play would mean residents of our area have scored big against the coronavirus. That could translate into local lives saved — a victory in anyone’s book.

This is one of those exceedingly rare times in which hoping high school athletes enjoy good fortune means we are pulling for everyone in our communities. Good luck, then, residents of Ohio and Marshall counties. Let’s run down the score against COVID-19.

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