OGEMAW HEIGHTS AT KINGSLEY

Kingsley’s Connor Schueller (30), Fisher Spellman (80) and Brett Peterson (44) celebrate Schueller’s two-point conversion in the third quarter of a Nov. 6 game against Ogemaw Heights.

KINGSLEY — Kingsley forfeited its district final to Reed City Friday after a member of its coaching staff tested positive for COVID-19 and another on the coaching staff was feeling ill, athletic director Mitch Miggenburg said.

The game was set to feature two undefeated Division 5 teams, each entering the game with an 8-0 record. Kingsley had scored at least 36 points in every game up until Friday and was coming off a 50-point win against Gladwin in the district semifinals, it’s largest margin of victory all season.

Miggenburg said following a confirmed test among a coach Thursday the Grand Traverse County Health Department told them they could not conduct a contact tracing investigation by game time, therefore, the school decided to forge ahead with its own.

Multiple players went in for rapid COVID-19 testing, some of which had already come back negative, but others Miggenburg said came back positive.

The Kingsley Area Schools Board of Education met for an emergency meeting Thursday night, with the majority deciding to play the game as scheduled. But after another member of the coaching staff informed Miggenburg they were not feeling well Friday morning, he said he could not risk his team or Reed City’s.

“We just didn’t feel in our heart of hearts that it was a responsible and safe thing to do,” Miggenburg said. “Probably the toughest decision certainly that I’ve had to make here, but I think it’s the right one, in terms of safety.”

Miggenburg informed the players directly before any word was put out on social media.

“As a former coach and a player, knowing how much they put into it, having to to look them in the eye for that was the hardest thing I’ve done,” Miggenburg said. “Some people say, ‘Well it’s just football.’ It’s not just football in Kingsley. I feel for our kids and our community.”

Reed City athletic director Kris Griffin said Kingsley was very transparent throughout the process.

“Truly, it can happen to any one of us at any time,” Griffin said.

Reed City (9-0) moves on to host the winner of Freeland and Essexville Garber.

Stags out

Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR

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