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Fall Sports play through adversity

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Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) -- With so many coronavirus related cancellations, area football teams are taking an "anyone, anywhere" approach to finding opponents for Friday nights.

Nathan DeLaney, Athletic Director at Marshfield high school says, "patience and flexibility come in handy right now."

In week 3 of  Wisconsin's high school football season, 37 games were cancelled. So far in week 4 -- 27 more will not be played.

"We went through four or five different opponents last week and then on Wednesday in matter of about two hours we went from one opponent to two opponents to someone we had called previous asking us to play again," DeLaney said.

District athletics staff continuing to work through entirely new challenges, all for their athletes.

"This is why you get into education is to help  kids and provide opportunities the best you can," said DeLaney.

8-man football faces challenges of its own. Scott Fitzgerald, Athletic Director at Newman Catholic has held his position since January. He doesn't know what being an AD not during a pandemic is like, but finds great importance in going the extra mile for his athletes.

"We had one of our games get cancelled and so we drove over to Northwood high school on the other end of the state," said Fitzgerald.

The WIAA provides a portal for schools to find other schools that have also been cancelled on. From there anyone can play frankly, anyone.
WIAA Deputy Director Wade Labecki says while the WIAA doesn't feel they have been directly involved in the week to week changes of schedules, they strive to provide the resources schools need to keep playing.

"They'll just go find someone in their region and schedule them and play because they've already got the officials hired," said Labecki.

While teams may be playing every Friday night, it doesn't mean all match ups count for playoffs record.

Labecki explains, "you're required to get wins to get into post season, but when someone drops you because of COVID-19, you'll get a forfeit win and the school that cancels gets no penalty for what they cant control.

In theory, a team who has been cancelled on all 7 weeks of regular season, would be 7-0 going into the playoffs, although never having seen competition.

Those games would count more as exhibition games.

School officials say this year, its not really about the numbers on the board.

Scott Fitzgerald said, "this is a blessing that were even here and able to participate in anything."

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Addison Van Patten

Sports Reporter

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