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Friday, December 04, 2020
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We made it through fall, whew

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I know I am not the only person that was surprised, maybe even dumbfounded, and relieved that we found a way in Sullivan County to make it through the 2020 fall sports season, literally unscathed because of COVID-19

Even though there were some bumps in the road, teams got to finish what they started.

North Central’s football team was unable to play its opening two games because of the pandemic. But the Thunderbirds were able to finish the season with two wins, including a sectional victory over Rock Creek Academy. The Lions of RCA had to forfeit when over half their team had to be quarantined.

Even before the current situation at Dugger Union, the DUCS volleyball team was unable to play a full schedule because of the pandemic. They were quarantined for a couple of weeks early in the season.

Also, they were unable to play five matches (if I recall correctly) and two tournaments. One tournament and the regular season contests could not be played because Illinois did not play volleyball this fall because of the COVID-19.

Safety concerns caused the cancellation of their other conference tourney.

The Sullivan boys soccer team had a match with Brown County moved to later in the season because BC was quarantined at the time of the first match.

There were some incidents with junior high teams at Sullivan, but I am not privy to all of that information.

The craziest situation with the pandemic concerned the Sullivan football team.

After beating Vincennes Lincoln 28-26 in the sectional semifinals, the Arrows were on track to win its first sectional in school history, on the field.

They were going to play Washington, who beat Edgewood 32-16 in the other semifinal in Class 3A Sectional 30, in the title game, but the Hatchets had several players that had to be quarantined.

So Sullivan became sectional champs for the first time in football without ever having to take the field in what would have been the title game.

Teams have lost heartbreaking tournament games in the history of the county — a 1-0 loss in extra innings by then Union (Dugger) in the 2004 Class A state championship softball game comes to mind — but no sectional win  has ever been as heartbreaking as it was for coach Blaine Powell and the Golden Arrows.

Here’s your trophy. You can see it and touch it, but it is not the same.

The Arrows were quarantined before the regional title game against Danville, who was gracious enough to move the game to Saturday so the Arrows could be at full strength, almost.

They still had two players in lockup, so to speak, because of their involvement with the school play Joseph. In all, two teachers and over 40 students involved in the play will be in quarantined until Monday.

As the county reached the dreaded Red level on Wednesday, who knows what the future may hold for basketball and wrestling.

North Central and Dugger Union won’t be playing any games until after Thanksgiving. The Sullivan girls basketball team has actually gotten to play three games — winning them all — with games scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

But boys basketball scrimmages with North Central and Sullivan were cancelled.

To be honest, everyone I seem to run into is speculating about what might happen to winter sports moving forward.

I don’t even want to venture a guess, not for publication, about the situation with schools, virtually learning and yes, sports.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association is hoping to make it through the semi-state football games this weekend and the state finals on Nov 27-28 without some team not being able to play because of COVID-19.

I bet the IHSAA administrators are hoping and praying for just two more weeks of virus-free preparation and 18 games (12 semi-state and six state finals).

****

I wanted to give a big shout out to Aimee Harvey, the athletic director at Danville High School. Last week, four days before the regional football game, I reached out to Harvey to try to put my name on a list for media credentials.

To set the stage, I have been to postseason tournament events at Monrovia, North Knox, Vincennes Lincoln, Sullivan, Clay City and Terre Haute this fall.

Every time the ADs had a sign-in sheet for guys and gals like me.

I assumed, I know the real meaning of that word, that Danville would be having sign-ins like all the rest. But as Harvey informed me, there would be no sign-ins.

She said I would have to go through Sullivan to get a FIELD PASS. I have not worn one of those since Zionsville beat Sullivan in a football sectional some 30-plus years ago.

After talking with Sullivan AD Otto Clements, Powell agreed to put me on their list for field pass. But this would mean I would have to be at the game two hours early. That is even early for me.

But after talking things over with Otto, I just decided to get online and pay for a ticket.

So as I approached Warrior Field, I passed the media gate and went to the gate for tickets. I had my phone scanned and I was in.

After a bathroom break, I made my way onto the Sullivan sidelines. The first thing I noticed or didn’t notice was a field pass. No trainers, coaches, media or managers were wearing a field pass. You can only imagine how I felt. If not for being worried about the impending rain and damage it could do to my camera and papers, I might have been upset.

I guess that Aimee did not think I was big time enough to watch her Warriors thrash Sullivan or maybe my bad reputation preceded me.

Usually as a working member of the media, I have been treated better than I deserve. You email in advance and ask what you need to do to be put on a list or whatever you need for access.

The only thing I got was ‘There will be no room in the press box.’

As it turned out, I got a big dose of Thanksgiving turkey early.

Thanks Aimee. I definitely am stuffed.


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