BILLINGS — An Eastern A football game between Billings Central and Glendive has been canceled because a Glendive player tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Glendive's health department told the football team not to travel to Billings once it learned of the COVID-19 case, according to Central athletic director Mike Ryan.
The game was scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Lockwood Stadium and was homecoming for Central. Homecoming activities will be rescheduled, Ryan told 406mtsports.com, and the Rams might play the Red Devils in the coming days or weeks. But nothing has been decided yet, Ryan said.
"Obviously disappointed," said Central coach Jim Stanton. "There's not much we can do. It's the world we live in right now."
Central and Glendive are both scheduled to play the next three weeks with one more home game each. The Rams, who are No. 3 in the 406mtsports.com Class A rankings, will host No. 2-ranked and defending state champion Miles City on Oct. 16.
Central and Glendive could reschedule the game to early in one of the next three weeks, Ryan and Stanton said.
"We're exploring what our possibilities are," Ryan said. "It's unfortunate. This is our homecoming. I feel bad for our kids."
Central is 3-0 and is coming off a 28-14 win at rival Laurel. Glendive is 1-2 and lost to Sidney 31-26 last week.
Sidney also canceled this week's game, scheduled for Friday night at home against Lewistown, because of COVID-19. Other games scrapped for virus-related reasons: Belgrade at Great Falls, Red Lodge at Poplar, Browning at Dillon, Cut Bank at Wolf Point and Anaconda at Missoula Loyola.
Central and Glendive began their seasons two weeks later than usual because they canceled their nonconference contests, as did many other teams across the state. In hindsight, Stanton wishes the Rams began their season a week or two earlier so they could have scheduled at least one bye week, which could be used for potential makeup games like the one they hope to play against Glendive.
"The opportunities are starting to slip away," Stanton said.
Montana reported 360 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, one day after a record 429 positive tests were announced. Dawson County has six confirmed active cases (82 since the pandemic began), and Yellowstone County has 1,013 (3,493 total).