Editor’s Note: The Lee County High School Football Update covers Beulah, Beauregard, Smiths Station and Loachapoka high schools. D. Mark Mitchell will provide updates on Opelika High in his weekly column “On the Mark.”
By Wil Crews
For many high schools across Alabama, this week marks the start of football season. As COVID-19 has already made its presence felt on local students, doubts about the viability and safety of high school sports continue to grow. Still, the lifeblood of the south will carry on – for now. Here’s what we know about week one of Lee County high school football.
Beulah High School:
The Beulah Bobcats were set to travel to play the Loachapoka Indians in their season’s opening game this Friday. However, according to head coach Matthew Johnson, the game has been cancelled due to a player testing positive for COVID-19. “On Tuesday, Aug 7. our football team had a player test positive for COVID,” Johnson said. “Due to our circumstances we have suspended all football related activities for two weeks. After two weeks we will start an acclimation process for hope to return to play. This process is to make sure our players are ready to play. We won’t be taking the field because we want to play, but we will take the field because we will be physically ready to play.”
Beulah’s second game against the Cleburne County and third game, what would have been the home opener on Sept. 4 against the Pike County Bulldogs have also been cancelled. If quarantine and the acclimation period go to plan, the Bobcats will open their season at home versus Trinity on Sept. 11.
Beauregard High School:
To begin their season, the Beauregard Hornets are scheduled for a non-region away game against Valley High School on Friday at 7 p.m. Head coach Rob Carter enters his sixth season at Beauregard. Last season, the Hornets had a poor year, finishing 1-9 and losing their first eight games. Carter will be hoping his team gets off to a better start in 2020. However, it won’t be easy. The Hornets are 3-5-0 all-time against Valley and lost last year’s matchup 27-0. Next up for Beauregard will be a home game against Booker T. Washington on Friday, Aug. 28. Carter could not be reached for comment.
Loachapoka High School:
The Loachapoka Indians were scheduled to open their season this Friday at home against the Beulah Bobcats. The game has been cancelled due to a Beulah player testing positive for COVID-19. Loachapoka’s first-year head coach Reco Newtown is seeking to take the Indians to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Newton could not be reached for comment and there has been no announced update to the schedule as of now. Loachapoka is scheduled to play their second game at home on Friday, Aug. 28 against Central of Coosa County.
Smiths Station High School:
The Smiths Station Panthers were scheduled to have a home, non-region opening game against the Russell County Warriors. The game has been cancelled as Russell County Schools announced in a press release that their Fall sports will be delayed until Sept. 4 due to COVID-19 data. “Safety is a priority for our students and employees alike,” the release said. “Although we are experiencing challenges as related to the current health pandemic, we will remain hopeful and committed to supporting our student-athletes.” Smiths Station will be awarded the win as the game will be considered a forfeit by Russell County. Smiths Station’s next game is scheduled against Gardendale in a regional home game on Friday, Aug. 28.