Dogies cancel in first week

Sonja Karp

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


After dropping a close one in their zero week game against the Bison of Hot Springs, S.D., the Dogies had just begun to prepare for their week one non-conference matchup against the Buffalo Bison. However, they were derailed with news they did not want to hear at all, let alone so early in the season.

On Tuesday afternoon, NHS was notified by Hot Springs that one of their football players had tested positive for COVID-19. The player in question had played approximately 25-30% of the contest on the previous Friday evening, and began to show symptoms of the virus on Sunday. There was cause for concern because the symptoms showed up within 48 hours of the potential exposure to Newcastle players.

The player was tested but didn’t receive his results until Tuesday, therefore there was a delay in the notification of Newcastle. At that point, the Dogies had practiced on Monday afternoon, and had been in school for two days of the week.

School officials, along with head coach Matt Conzelman, made the determination to cancel practice on Tuesday afternoon and to send players home as decisions were made moving forward.

It was business as usual on Wednesday, and practice was held, however when a member of the Dogie squad began to experience symptoms that may indicate infection on Thursday, practice was again cancelled for the day.

The player remained home on Thursday and Friday, while a few others who may have also been in contact with the Bison player did not attend school on Friday and the decision was made to cancel the contest in Buffalo on Friday as well.

“We wanted to err on the side of caution because we didn’t know the results of our guy’s test yet,” Conzelman began. “It was disappointing because I really wanted to play that game to see where we stood against Buffalo, but it wouldn’t have been responsible to do so.”

The Dogie player received his test results back on Monday morning with the results for which everyone was crossing their fingers … it was negative. With those results, all players who had been quarantined were released to attend school this week and the team is back to practice as usual. 

The injury bug also left its mark on the team in their zero week contest, however most of the players who suffered a game ending injury in South Dakota are poised to return to the field this week. If a silver lining can be found in having to cancel the week one contest, it would be that the time off gave a few players time to heal.

“Killian [Gorman] should be back soon, and we’re still waiting to hear back on Slade’s [Roberson] results which should be this week,” Conzelman explained. “We’re trying to keep a positive vibe going but you just never know.”

The break also gave Conzelman some time to figure out how to proceed without his starting quarterback (Roberson). 

“We haven’t really had that many practices,” Conzelman laughed. “Because of that, we haven’t really had the opportunity to give Tate [Engle] a whole lot of reps, but we’re still planning on rolling with Quint [Perino], Tate and Chauncey [Jenerou].”

Perino is the squad’s backup QB, but was sidelined by half time in the last contest, which was how Jenerou got the nod to go under center. With a few different options, Conzelman has a plan going forward.

“If we need some beef and want to push the running game, Chauncey’s our guy,” Conzelman chuckled. “If we need a little more finesse and go to the air, we might be looking more at Quint or Tate. It’s nice to have some options back there.”

The Dogies are back in action to prepare for the Weston County Civil War this Friday as the Upton/Sundance crew comes to town for the home/conference opener with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. at Schoonmaker field.


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