West Suburban Conference shuffles Week 1 schedule due to COVID
The West Suburban Conference has scrambled to reshuffle Week 1 of its football season, as four league schools -- Downers Grove South, Lyons Township, Morton and Proviso West -- are unable to play Friday.
Downers Grove South, Lyons and Morton confirmed that they are quarantined for COVID-19. Proviso West did not respond to calls or emails for confirmation.
Downers Grove North, which was scheduled to play Proviso West, will now host Proviso East, which was scheduled to play Downers Grove South, at 7 p.m. Friday. Hinsdale South, which was scheduled to play Morton, will now host York, which was scheduled to play Lyons, at 6 p.m. Friday.
Downers Grove South coach Mark Molinari said that his program had a player test positive and the exposure happened on March 1. That makes Monday, March 15, the Mustangs' 14th day in quarantine, meaning that they can return to practice Tuesday if everyone is cleared -- but they'll still miss Week 1's games.
"We needed to have 12 days of practice and we could only get 10 in, so we're short," Molinari said. "That was the real kicker.
"We did not do contact tracing, we don't think he exposed a lot of kids fortunately, but due to the nature of the sport and the protocols and the rules it knocked us out."
Molinari said that the player was only with Downers Grove South for contact days, not practice. The Mustangs held practice March 3-6, but have not practiced since.
"Last Monday, when we looked at the calendar and how many dates we needed, we knew we'd be back (Tuesday), there's not just enough time to play this week," Molinari said. "It came down to numbers and there wasn't enough. If we could double up practices it could be enough but we could only have one practice a day."
Lyons, meanwhile, is in quarantine and will miss its first two games with York and Proviso West. Lyons athletic director John Grundke said in an email that Lyons hopes to return to practice by March 24.
"Hopefully we will be back and playing Week 3 against Leyden [April 1]," Grundke said in an email.
Morton AD Nicole Ebsen confirmed that Morton is also in quarantine for Weeks 1 and 2. The Mustangs can resume practice on March 27.
Molinari said that Downers Grove South did virtual work last Wednesday and Thursday, and will do so again Monday after he gave the team the weekend off. He said they should be back on the practice field Tuesday, but need clearances from nurses so realistically it could be Wednesday when the Mustangs resume. Downers Grove South's sophomores and freshmen are still playing.
Molinari, whose son Max is a senior quarterback, admitted it's been frustrating this week to see other teams count down the days to Friday's season openers on Twitter while his team remains in limbo.
"It's so frustrating," he said. "My heart breaks for these kids. My son is a senior, so you see it first hand. It's brutal. We're running out of days. It's so disappointing."
In another schedule change, Riverside-Brookfield is now playing at Hillcrest Friday, as Elmwood Park was unable to play Saturday.