Let’s call the high school fall sports season a success at the local level.
Schedules were mostly completed, district titles were won and state champions are close to getting crowned as everything but football will finish up this weekend.
The PIAA football finals in Hershey will be next week as the state semifinals in all six classifications go off this weekend.
There have been forfeits, canceled games and teams with rosters affected by players being quarantined because of close contact with a COVID-19 case. The one that hit Brookville big was of course the football team’s loss of a dozen players prior to its District 9 Class 2A Championship game loss to Karns City.
But still, having a fall season nearly intact after losing the spring was a big win.
“With where we thought we were in August to what we actually got accomplished through the fall, I think you’d have to consider it a success,” Brookville Athletic Director Dave Osborne said.
Yes, indeed, the number of COVID-19 positives are skyrocketing statewide, some places more than others and it’ll be interesting how the PIAA will decide to handle the upcoming winter season.
The PIAA meets Wednesday to make some decisions. How Governor Tom Wolf’s administration plays into this equation is anyone’s guess.
The first preseason practice date for winter right now is Friday. The first play date is Dec. 11.
“We have to plan and schedule as if nothing has changed, although that’s not going to be the case,” Osborne said.
It’s not. The Intermediate 9 Unit “Bubble” — teams like Bradford, St. Marys, Elk County Catholic, Ridgway, Johnsonburg and the other small schools that make up the North Tier League — that was set up for the fall is proceeding the same way this winter.
For Brookville, that’s changed scheduling in every sport.
And to note across the district at the beginning of this week:
— At least Redbank Valley, North Clarion, Keystone are now remotely learning with preseason practices starting Dec. 1. Cranberry is doing the same with at least Dec. 2 as the starting date.
— Karns City and Moniteau are starting Friday with preseason practices. Moniteau is still in school while Karns City is remote learning.
— Union and Clarion-Limestone are still in the building planning on a regular preseason start.
— A-C Valley is learning remotely with a preseason start of Dec. 7.
Since teams must have three weeks of practice prior to the start of a regular-season schedule, that’ll certainly change Brookville’s tip-off tournament plans for boys’ and girls’ basketball on Dec. 11-12 with the Union boys, and Clarion-Limestone and North Clarion girls in the field.
“We’re changing about 40 percent of our schedules due to the IU9 bubble and other schools who have restricted travel,” Osborne said.
Reynolds will not be at the Ultimate Duals, for instance, for the first time ever in January. Of course, that’s presuming the event happens.
Again, there’s a lot up in the air and hopefully, there are schedules to be played. The PIAA meeting has a lot on its table Wednesday, but don’t expect it to make some over-arching decision canceling or delaying. It’ll likely be grinding through postseason brackets and modified rules regarding how events should be run.
“A lot of people are interested where the winter sports schedules are going and I wish I had better answers for them,” Osborne said. “I hate just saying, I don’t know and I don’t have them.”
So for now, the preseason practice schedule begins as early as Friday at Brookville. The athletic department is having a meeting for potential winter athletes during an activity period Thursday morning.
Rich Rhoades is the sports editor of the Jeffersonian Democrat and the Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @TheSkinny1969.