SHARE

According to an announcement on the West Washington Senators page this afternoon, the Washington County Health Department has approved a plan to allow the county’s first-ever semi-state football championship game. 

The West Washington Senators Varsity Football team advanced past the regional round last Friday night and will play Covenant Christian for the Class A Semi-State championship Friday night at Art Sanders Field at 7p. 

Earlier this week, first-year West Washington High School Athletic Director Darrin Russel said he was confident the school would get to play their football game Friday night. 

“As far as semi-state we have been in communication this weekend with the IHSAA and State health department and are confident that we will be able to host,” he said. “It isn’t what you want if you’re playing for a chance to go to state [finals] but just thankful that we are playing and the kids will get the opportunity to play on Art Sanders Field.”

In a social media post this afternoon, the school noted: 

“[West Washington School Corporation] wants to thank the Washington County Health Department and Dr. [Jeff] Morgan for working so closely with us in order to allow us to host our Semi-State Championship Game with limited spectators.”
 
Here is a copy of the Senators’ play they submitted to the health department – FB Game Day Guidelines

This is the first semi-state football tournament held in the county.

The Senators play in a semi-state game last year at Indianapolis Lutheran and were defeated 49-0.

The Senators last played in a Semi-State game in 1994 when they lost 27-6 to Sheridan. 

The year before, in 1993, the Senators capped off a winning season by playing in the RCA Dome for the Class A State Finals against North Miami. The Senators lost 37-16. 

Last week, Morgan issued restrictions for education and extra-curricular activities after Washington County turned to “Orange” on the state health department’s Covid-19 map. 
 
At that time, Morgan said he would only allow less than 50 people to attend sporting (or extracurricular) events during the time the county was in the “Orange” status. 
 
The Senators Facebook page didn’t mention how many tickets would be made available to either team. 
 
Morgan indicated a “strong recommendation to have no in-person attendees.”
 
“If in the situation that our county moves into the red category, all three schools will be closed to in-person learning,” Morgan wrote in a letter on Nov. 12 to all school administrators. “All extracurricular activities would be canceled.”
 
Morgan said this was a stricter mandate than what the ISDH has put out but “it is in the best health interest of our community.” 
 
County coaches said they would be disappointed but would comply with the order.
 
“If the county goes Red- then yes- we will have to shut down all sports,” said Eastern High School Athletic Director Scott Newcomb. “At the high school level, we will try to make up all postponed games here at Eastern.  If we continue to play with no fans (Orange level) or very limited fans, this will really impact our ability to host games.”

Newcomb said it would have an economic impact on the school as well.

“Without any income coming in with the gate and concessions, and still paying officials and a few workers, it will make it difficult to operate very long,” he said. “The money that is generated throughout the basketball season also helps to fund the spring sports.  With all that being said, we do realize the health and safety of our student-athletes, our workers and the community that comes to watch them is the most important piece to this whole puzzle.”

West Washington’s girl’s basketball team has three games set for this week and the boy’s basketball team is practicing for their annual debut matchup with the Salem Lions on Wednesday, Nov. 25. 
 
“We are taking everything [one] day at a time,” said first-year Senator Athletic Director Darren Russell. “Obviously, if we go red and have to shut down there is nothing we can do.”
 
He said the school was working on plans to continue to play and operate under the “Orange” status guidelines. 
 
“We have plans in the work on how we can have parents close just in case their kid gets hurt which is the biggest fear any of have is that someone gets hurt and a parent isn’t there,” said Russell. 
 
The Indiana State Health Department updates its county map each Wednesday. 
 
Currently, Washington County is at a 14.9 percent 7-Day All Positivity Rate.
 
The “Red” status would kick in if the county goes above 15 percent.
 

Should Washington County turn to red, which is the highest rate of Covid-19 spread, Morgan said he would cancel all athletic events. 

It is not known at this time if the Semi-State game would be allowed to continue or if it would be canceled along with other athletics. 
 
The ISDH updates that on Wednesday and new information would be released at Noon on Nov. 18. 
 
West Washington says there will be a limited number of tickets available for each team and all tickets must be pre-purchased, but there was no indication what the number was. 
 
The cost per ticket is $10.
 
WW Football players need to purchase their tickets from Coach Keith Nance as soon as possible. 
 
A limited number of tickets will be available in the West Washington High School office beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 8:30 am for those not getting them through a player.
 
WSLM 97.9 FM will carry the game live on the air and it will be streamed on WSLM’s Facebook page. 
 
The kickoff is set for 7p with the pregame show starting at approximately 7:45p.