COVID-19 Disrupting High School Football, With Games Being Canceled, Forfeited

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting high school football in Alabama, as numerous teams were forced to forfeit games last weekend, and more than a dozen games have been canceled this weekend.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association had 29 games result in forfeits during the second weekend of the 2020 season. By rule, a forfeit results in a 1-0 loss for the forfeiting team.

Director of Communications Ron Ingram told Birmingham Watch that 186 games were on the original schedule for last week. Out of the 29 forfeits, 10 were from schools that canceled their entire season early on. Of the remaining 19, Ingram said some may be changed to “no contest” games, depending on the arrangement the competing schools had in place; one game was already declared a cancellation.

Among metro Birmingham teams, five were involved in forfeited games. Those included a 1-0 win by Homewood over Vestavia Hills, the second week that the Rebels did not play after head coach Buddy Anderson, the winningest football coach in AHSAA history, tested positive for COVID-19 along with his wife and a handful of staff and players. Hewitt-Trussville won over Saraland, Calera defeated Jackson-Olin, Clay-Chalkville was victorious over Hueytown and Vincent lost to Billingsley in other forfeited games.

Two AHSAA contests were hastily scheduled as replacements for canceled games, including Mountain Brook’s 31-14 win over Calera. These games are officially recorded as a “replacement non-counter contest,” similar to the “jamboree” exhibition games with which Alabama schools used to begin each season. AHSAA schools have for several years had the option of playing a full varsity game instead in “Week Zero,” allowing an off week later in the schedule, and most schools have made that change over time.

Coming up this week, Ingram said that 13 games have been canceled so far and will be designated as forfeits when the games are scheduled to start. Four other schools have scheduled non-counting replacement games.

In the Alabama Independent Schools Association, a smaller organization made up of 33 football-playing private schools, one game was reported as a forfeit last week as Lowndes Academy of Hayneville was declared the 1-0 winner over Meadowview Christian of Selma.