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November 29, 2021

San Benito-Aptos showdown canceled after Balers report ‘close-contact protocols’

Friday’s much-anticipated game between the San Benito High and Aptos High football teams has been cancelled due to a number of San Benito High varsity football players being unavailable to play due to Covid protocols, a press release from the San Benito High School District said. 

San Benito High officials notified their Aptos counterparts on Wednesday. The game will be counted as a no-contest and will not be rescheduled. The frosh-soph game and junior varsity contest were set to proceed as scheduled. The district release added that San Benito is working with Pacific Coast Athletic League Commissioner Tim McCarthy to follow the established PCAL bylaws for Covid cancellations of scheduled league football games.

According to school officials, a number of San Benito High varsity football players have been temporarily excluded from participating in athletics due to close contact protocols.

San Benito officials said the California Department of Public Health issues mandatory guidance for K-12 schools that outlines quarantine and modified quarantine requirements for unvaccinated students who were in close contact with a Covid-19 positive case.

The Haybalers (6-1, 4-1) were coming off an impressive 34-19 win over Palma last week and were set to face an equally tough Aptos (7-1, 5-1) squad in a game that amounted to be a title eliminator. 

Whichever team won on Friday would’ve kept their hopes of earning a share of the PCAL Gabilan Division championship alive. Salinas, which is a virtual lock to win at least a share of the title, now is an overwhelming favorite to win it outright.

Aptos coach Randy Blankenship said he was highly disappointed after he heard the announcement. He broke the news to the players prior to Wednesday’s practice and they decided to call that off, too.

“It’s just really disappointing. Our kids, coaches and parents have all been looking forward to this game,” Blankenship said. 

Haybalers coach Bryan Smith did not return a message to the Free Lance before this story was posted. 

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