The McMinn County football team's second-round playoff game at Dobyns-Bennett was postponed Friday due to a COVID-19 issue that will not be resolved before Monday, TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress told the Times Free Press.
The issue arose just hours before the Class 6A game when Sullivan County Health Department officials were notified that a McMinn County player had tested positive for the coronavirus. The player did not ride the team bus and was not at the game in Kingsport, but Childress said the concern was whether there had been appropriate contact tracing to determine whether anyone else on the team had been exposed and should have been quarantined.
"There were just too many unanswered questions that couldn't get answered in time for the game to be played, and based off the recommendation of the Sullivan County Health Department, our determination was to not play it," Childress said Saturday. "We needed time to allow administrators from both schools to submit the details from the health departments from both counties before we could make a decision on what the course of action should be.
"The biggest question is when and why was the player who tested positive around the team? Was he involved with anything related to the team in the days leading up to the game, and if so, was any contact tracing done? Were there other players who should have been quarantined? Those are some of the things we need to know, and our plan is to gather all the information from both sides and make a decision on what to do on Monday."
One McMinn County administrator said that after the player in question was told he tested positive, a second test was administered and came back negative.
"The information we were given was that the second test was an antibody test, which is not the same as a negative coronavirus test," said Childress, who also added that making up the game by playing it at any point in the coming week would be unlikely.
Dobyns-Bennett (9-2) got past Cleveland 42-35 in the first round on Nov. 6, when McMinn County (10-1) beat Bearden 28-7 behind another strong performance by senior running back Jalen Hunt, who rushed for three touchdowns and 291 yards as he closes in on 2,500 for the season.
The winner of McMinn County and Dobyns-Bennett was scheduled to travel to second-ranked Maryville (12-0) for a quarterfinal matchup this Friday. The Cherokees haven't advanced past the second round since 2001.
Red Raiders out
After seemingly taking control with an impressive first half, Baylor could not maintain its advantage as Montgomery Bell Academy rallied to score touchdowns on all four second-half possessions and win 28-13 in their Division II-AAA quarterfinal matchup Saturday night in Nashville.
The Red Raiders took a 10-0 lead into halftime after Elijah Howard broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run on the final play of the second quarter, but MBA sophomore quarterback countered in the second half with two scoring runs and a pair of touchdown passes. Baylor (4-4) turned the ball over twice in the second half and could manage only a field goal as the Big Red (6-2) advanced to the semifinals for the ninth consecutive year.
MBA will next host Memphis University School (9-2), a 41-17 winner over Father Ryan on Friday. In this coming week's other semifinal, reigning state champion McCallie (7-3) is at Brentwood Academy (11-0). The BlueCross Bowl title game is Dec. 3 at Tennessee Tech.