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Virus outbreak at Central Hinds leads to postponement of game vs. St. Al

St. Aloysius’ football game against Central Hinds, scheduled for Friday night, has been postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak among Central Hinds’ student body.

Central Hinds Academy headmaster Phil Hannon declined to say how many students had tested positive for the virus, but did say it was enough to cause some alarm. Classes at the school are continuing as scheduled.

“We had several cases come up amongst our students,” Hannon said. “They were not all football players, but it was enough that there was concern about bringing a crowd together. We’re going to take a few days and see if we can get things to settle down. Hopefully in the next five or 10 days we can see where we are.”

Hannon said the outbreak at Central Hinds started early this week, and by Wednesday it became apparent that playing sports and potentially spreading the virus among opponents and into a large crowd was not a good idea.

“It pretty much has been during this week. We’d had a few cases before this, and it sprung up this week,” Hannon said. “We want to take every precaution to protect our Central Hinds family, as well as the St. Aloysius family.”

Both Hannon and St. Aloysius principal Karla McHan said postponing the game was a mutual decision. McHan said she was “thankful” for how Central Hinds has handled the situation.

“After talking, we decided it was best not to play Friday’s football game and put that in the mix,” McHan said. “I’m thankful that they were willing to be open so we could make the changes, instead of waiting to see if it got better.”

McHan also said there was not an outbreak at Vicksburg Catholic Schools. One student tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this school year, but there are no other active cases among the student body or staff.

“We do not have any outbreaks,” McHan said.

The football game between St. Al and Central Hinds is the MAIS District 3-5A opener for both teams and will be rescheduled, although a date has not yet been set. Neither team has an open date this season, so each will have to cancel another game to reschedule this one. The only date where neither plays another district opponent is Sept. 18, which is just beyond the 14-day quarantine window.

McHan said the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools is working with both schools to reschedule the game.

Two softball games between St. Al and Central Hinds on Sept. 8 and Sept. 14, as well as a girls’ soccer game on Sept. 14, will also be rescheduled.

Central Hinds also has soccer games against Copiah Academy and Park Place, and a softball game at Hillcrest that will need to be rescheduled.

Hannon said Central Hinds’ next football game on Sept. 11, at Copiah Academy, has not yet been postponed. That is also a district game that must be played before the end of the season.

St. Al football coach Stacy Sizemore said he planned to put his team through its normal practice on Thursday, and then give the team Friday off. The Flashes’ next game is at home on Sept. 11 against Parklane Academy.

“It’s one of those things that we don’t really have control over,” Sizemore said. “If we can’t play, we can’t play, and we’ll just start getting ready for next week.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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