Ada to host Durant Lions, Homecoming pushed back to Oct. 9

Ada High football players are shown during a recent practice session. Ada High athletics officials announced Monday morning that the Cougars’ football game with Durant — which had previously been canceled — is back on. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Norris Field.

The more things dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic change, the more they stay the same.

That being said, Ada versus Durant football is back on for this Friday night at Norris Field. However, Ada’s 2020 Homecoming activities have been rescheduled for Oct. 9 when John Marshall comes to town.

“If everything stays as it is right now, we are going to play Friday night,” said Ada City Schools Athletic Director Bryan Harwell.

Ada athletics officials were informed last Wednesday that an Ardmore player that was on the field a “significant amount of time” during the Cougars’ season-opener at Noble Stadium had tested positive for COVID-19. At that point, it looked like Ada would have to cancel its Sept. 11 road trip to archrival McAlester and its contest this Friday against the Lions. It also looked like, at that time, the entire football team may have had to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

It was later determined that nine Ada High players had been in close contact with the problematic Ardmore athlete during that matchup and needed to be quarantined for two weeks.

However, there simply wasn’t enough time to shuffle the Cougars’ lineup around to be adequately prepared for a battle with the Buffaloes.

The Ada coaching staff spent this past weekend creating a new depth chart — without the nine quarantined Cougars — for its home date with Durant.

“Our coaching staff has had an opportunity to evaluate their personnel. Our coaches did not have an opportunity to evaluate their personnel and those position changes last week,” Harwell said. “Now they’ve had the weekend to do that and these kids will get a full week of practice (at their new positions).”

Harwell said it would have been unsafe to send an Ada athlete into a game at a new position with no time to prepare.

“Last week all they would have had is a walkthrough and then go and play and that’s asking an impossibility,” he explained. “That doesn’t make any sense for the safety of the kids. I was told the McAlester defensive line averaged close to 250 pounds and we were going to have to move a 180-pounder in there who hasn’t practiced.”

As of press time, it’s likely the nine AHS quarantined players won’t get to participate in Friday’s battle with Durant.

“I think we have to assume at this time those nine are not going to be able to play,” Harwell said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear. Rarely is anything set in stone.

“Every decision we’ve made has been made with what we think is best for the safety of our student-athletes,” Harwell said.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.

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