COLUMBIA - Missouri’s high school football playoffs continue this weekend, and many teams have had to travel far distances this season to play games.
Fort Zumwalt North in O'Fallon will travel to Columbia to play Battle High School Friday in the Class 5 State Quarterfinals Friday night.
Battle High School’s Athletic Director Alex Huck said they have to be informative to other teams who might not have the same guidelines in their area.
“It's just about being very communicative with the teams that we're playing so that the team doesn't show up expecting it, something different than what we have in place,” Huck said. “Just to kind of streamline that process.”
Lutheran North from St. Louis will also travel to Jefferson City to play Blair Oaks High School, who has hosted many games this season.
Cory Felten, Blair Oaks Athletic Director, said not traveling has its benefits.
“When we start talking about it, related to COVID, is we're not putting our kids on a bus and having them creep up for a two-hour drive to get to Lutheran North, or wherever it might have been,” Felten said. “And potentially having somebody that's asymptomatic to be able to spread it and not know it.”
Helias Catholic will play West Plains in Jefferson City. Helias Catholic Athletic Director Tom Guinn said it's hard to limit incoming spectators from both sides when you have a winning team.
“Our team is undefeated right now, and so it's a hot ticket. People are interested in our football program and because of that people want to come and watch the team, and I can't blame our community for that,” Guinn said. “But we also have to be strict and be firm in terms of how many people we can allow into the game just to meet the guidelines of the health department.”
Felten also said this is a problem, as they have to separate the arriving communities for the playoffs to promote social distancing.
“We do a pretty good job of disinfecting after our kids leave, after other teams leave, getting things wiped down,” Felten said. “We've opened up an extra concession stands when we know that it's going to be a big game in order to kind of help social distance crowds and keep them on their, kind of hate to phrase it that way, but keep them on their side and us on our side, just so we're not intermingling the communities any more than we have to.”
All of these teams play Friday or Saturday. For more information on Missouri’s High School playoffs, go to MSHSAA's website.