BOONVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - After their season was interrupted by the coronavirus, the Boonville football team finally returned to the field on Thursday night for the first time since September.
“Throughout the summer, we knew there was going to be the possibility of having positive cases," Boonville Athletic Director Kevin Davis said.
Davis has been busy over the last three weeks after dealing with the effects that COVID-19 inflicted on Boonville athletics.
“Anytime you’re playing a contact sport," Davis said. "All of our athletes and coaches knew that there was a possibility that the majority of the team could get shut down.”
It took just one positive case at Boonville High School to create a ripple effect throughout the rest of the school and the community.
“You had to narrow it down to bus trips, to the timeframe of practice," Davis said. "They say timing is everything – our timeline was he showed symptoms on a Saturday, you have to go back 48 hours so you have to close contact in those timelines.”
That timeline resulted in 179 Boonville students quarantined at the end of September, sidelining the soccer, volleyball and football programs.
“[We had to] be prepared to tell them that they might be out," Davis said. "You might be out for a couple weeks. With the IHSAA rules and having to get practices back in, it really eliminates a lot of the season - it’s tough on kids.”
Members of those teams understood the risks of stepping out on the field.
“It wasn’t scary, it was just disappointing," Joy Harter, the mother of two quarantined football players said. "We really look forward to playing those games, but we ended up being quarantined.”
“All of our athletes and their parents completely understand," Davis said. "Not happy that it happened, but understand because they’re in the aspect of a team.”
However, it was having to isolate non-team members, students that were exposed at school, that proved to be the problem.
“They get caught up in the classroom of being a close contact to a positive case of someone they probably have never even talked to,” Davis said. "That’s what’s been tough for our families, athletes and the community to really understand and get behind because we’re putting healthy kids in quarantine.”
But with each athlete back on the field and in the classroom, the Pioneers' story is that of a resilient community working together.
“All of our positive cases have put kids into quarantine and none of those kids have come back with positive cases,” Davis said. "So they’ve done it right. I think if you would’ve told our kids and the community that they would be able to end their seasons back in August, then they would’ve taken that option. So we’ve gotten there, a little bumps in the road but we feel very fortunate and very excited.”
In accordance with IHSAA rules, since Boonville football missed eight practices while in quarantine, the team had to have four practices under their belt before taking the field against Gibson Southern on Thursday night.
The Pioneers ultimately fell to the Titans, 40-12.