COVID-19 turns local rivalry football scrimmage into nightmare for teams

An innocent enough scrimmage to conclude summer work outs and prepare for the first weekend of Fridays under the lights turned into a nightmare scenario for area teams thanks to COVID-19.

Loyalsock played at Danville last Friday night in a well orchestrated and socially distanced (when possible for players) event.

According to reports all went well, until a positive COVID-19 test for an Ironmen player was confirmed on Tuesday.

Early in the day while players were in school, Lancers head coach Justin Van Fleet took to social media to let his players and staff know practice was cancelled that day and details would follow.

As first reported by NEWS TALK WMPT in the moments after players were informed of the 14-day quarantine on Tuesday,

“According to sources, Loyalsock canceled football practice today as a result of playing a scrimmage against Danville last Friday. Danville has multiple confirmed COVID-19 cases and moved to a remote learning model today. Sources are saying the Lancers may be in a 14-day quarantine scenario. The LTSD school board has scheduled an emergency meeting for tomorrow night to addrsss the situation as well as approve the plan for fans to attend games and guidance.”


Within an hour of the NEWS TALK WMPT report, Loyalsock School District families received the following message from Superintendent Jerry McLaughlin confirming the initial report:

“Good afternoon.

This is Jerry McLaughlin, Superintendent of Loyalsock Township School District.
We are contacting you in accordance with our Health & Safety Plan.
This message is to make you aware that the school district is actively responding to a probable case of Covid of a high school student.
The PA Department of Health has recommended that all football student athletes and football coaches be quarantined today with a return date of September 18, 2020.
Any staff member serving as a football coach will also quarantine.
The PA Department of Health will continue to contact trace as they continue with this investigation.
They have advised that any contact of a contact (such as family member or friend) does not need to quarantine unless you are contacted by the PA Department of Health or are symptomatic.
Deep cleaning of all buildings and buses will continue on a daily basis. Any student that displays any symptoms should not report to school.
If you would like more information, please contact the PA Department of Health or the Superintendent’s office.
Thank you for your understanding, and I will provide more information as necessary.”

The worst fears realized for both teams involved before the season had even begun.  A year like no other, 2020 struck again by wiping out the first two games of the season.

Mount Carmel, the Lancers Week #2 opponent already cancelled their game with Southern Columbia due to a pair of positive test results.

According to a report from NEWS TALK WMPT on Tuesday evening:

“With the 14 day quarantine of the Lancers football program, the game at Warrior Run this Friday and the home game on September 18 verses Mount Carmel have been canceled.

The next potential game for Loyalsock would be at home on September 25 against Hughesville.”


On Wednesday evening, the Loyalsock Township School Board in their regularly scheduled meeting addressed the situation as well as approved the plan for fans to attend games and guidance based on the current guidance issued by Governor Wolf and with the ability to adjust with the passage of House Bill 2787.

Specific details will be posted once the Loyalsock Township School Board formally publishes them.