Brighton's football opener vs. Novi canceled because of COVID-19

September 17, 2020
Bill Kahn
Livingston Daily


His own program is one of the few impacted by a cancellation due to COVID-19, but Brighton athletic director John Thompson is confident that reinstating football for the fall was the right decision.
 
Brighton’s opening varsity game in the delayed 2020 season, scheduled for Friday at home against Novi, is canceled because five Novi students tested positive for COVID-19. The freshman and junior varsity games scheduled for Thursday at Novi were also canceled.
 
Thompson is a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council. The MHSAA originally moved football to the spring on Aug. 14, the fifth day of official practices. The sport was reinstated as a fall sport, beginning with Week 4 games, on Sept. 3.
 
“Not just with football, I think with all fall sports and just in return to school in general, we’re going to have COVID situations that occur,” Thompson said. “We’re going to have to administratively deal with it. Obviously, you don’t wish that on any school, any team or any athletic department. We’d be lying to each other if we thought there wouldn’t be COVID situations come up.

“Some of the forethought in the sport of football, making it like all the other MHSAA sports with everybody in the playoffs this year, was because you’d be living a sheltered life if you thought every team across the state of Michigan would move throughout a season without any COVID blips on the radar.”
 
The Novi Community School District announced Wednesday that it has shut down in-person classes at the high school for the rest of the week and is not allowing its students to use athletic facilities until Monday.

 
Brighton’s season opener will be Sept. 25 at Northville.
 
At least three other varsity football games in Michigan have been canceled because of COVID-19 cases. Bay City All Saints, Port Huron Northern and Utica canceled their games because of cases in their schools. All three of their opponents found other teams to play this week.
 
Thompson said there wasn’t enough time to get another opponent for Brighton, assuming one was available.
 
“We had that thought, but just due to the timing of it, it makes it a little tricky to pull something like that together at the last minute,” he said.
 
Teams that lose a game because of COVID-19 cases at their opponents' schools do not receive forfeits.
 
Unlike other high school sports, there isn’t room on a schedule to make up a football game. Teams are allowed only one game per week.
 
“It’s definitely the one sport where rescheduling is not the norm,” Thompson said. “If we get thunder and lightning on a Friday night, we have provisions to play on Saturday.”
 
Other Livingston County teams with games canceled against Novi are Hartland soccer Thursday and Howell soccer Saturday, and Brighton golf Thursday.
 
The fall football season will consist of six regular-season weeks, with all teams qualifying for the state playoffs. The state championship games are scheduled to be played Dec. 4-5.