Tors forfeit to Notre Dame due to COVID and contract tracing

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, September 7, 2021

COVID-19 has struck a Southwest La. football team again.

Sulphur High announced Monday that Thursday’s game at Notre Dame is canceled due to a player testing positive and contact tracing. Due to the LHSAA new rule governing teams that can’t play because of COVID-19, the Tors will take a forfeit loss and drop to 1-1 while the Pios improve to 2-0.

“I felt like we could compete with Notre Dame,” Sulphur head coach Chris Towery said. “I felt like with a full squad it would be a really good game.

“We are still young and building, but we are obviously improving. It is what it is. It is the world we live in now. We have to do our best. It is not always the way we want things to work out. I would rather go lose on the field than lose by forfeit. I am not ducking or dodging anybody.”

Towery said Louisiana Department of Health rules prevent players testing positive or caught up in contact tracing from returning to the sport for 14 days, but they can return to the classroom sooner. Sulphur moved its Week 3 home game against Iowa back one day to Saturday, Sept. 18, to allow enough time for players to be cleared.

“There is a protocol for the contact traced kids getting back into school,” Towery said. “They can actually come back to school before they can play sports.

“They can not play sports for 14 days by the letter of the law, so that is why we moved the Iowa game to Saturday because it is the 14th day. The only thing you can tell them is to try to stay active at home. They can come back a little bit earlier with a negative test but even then the 14-day no participation deal is static. That doesn’t change no matter if they get a negative test or not.”

The Tors will not hold any varsity practices this week. The remaining players will lift weights and run during the athletic period.

Towery said it is a tough situation for his team, especially coming off a season-opening 21-13 win over Pineville. It was the Tors’ first win in a season opener since 2018.

“It was a win against a superior team,” Towery said. “They were bigger, stronger and faster than us, and we probably left a couple of scores off the board.

“We were on the 3-yard line, first-and-goal and didn’t block someone right and lost some yards then got a penalty. The saving grace for us was we got a couple of scores ahead of them, and then they didn’t throw the football.”