COVID-19 has done something that two other opponents haven’t been able to do this season: stop the Grove football team.

After bumping off Vinita and arch rival Jay by a 90-39 margin, the Ridgerunners have had to cancel their Friday, Sept. 18 game against Pryor and will need to reschedule the Sept. 25 District 4A-3 date with Oologah because a GHS player tested positive for coronavirus Monday.

“We had a player test positive,” superintendent Pat Dodson said. “When you have kids that are in a contact sport and they are swapping sweat and spit, it’s hard to eliminate anybody from positive contacts. We went through film and had the epidemiologist, had the Delaware County Health Department involved as well as our safety director, principal, athletic director and coaches trying to eliminate kids from being quarantined. But it was difficult just because of the situation.”

Dodson said GPS goes by neither the Oklahoma State Department of Education (which lists Oklahoma as “red”) nor Oklahoma State Health Department (which lists the state as “orange”) guidelines.

“We use what is happening individually in Grove Public Schools, specifically because there could be a scenario like a jail situation or where there’s a bunch of people that push you to the next color that has no bearing on what is going on in your school district.

“We have chosen to make our decision based on what is happening with Grove Public Schools.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been 12 COVID-related cancellations; including Oologah’s non-district game with Hilldale and a 6A showdown between state champs Bixby and Stillwater.

Ridgerunner head coach Ron Culwell said the Oologah game would be rescheduled, possibly on a Monday.

“We’re trying to work with Oologah,” Dodson said. “We’re hoping everybody is compliant in trying to reschedule because this is probably going to happen to them, too. If everybody works with everybody, there won’t be any animosity or hard feelings because ultimately, we’re trying to let the kids play the ballgame.

“We’re going to do the best we can to keep them on the field, but we’re not going to compromise the safety of the kids at any time.”