Chesapeake football, soccer player talks about how catching COVID-19 led to cancelled games

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 10:06 PM EDT
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CHESAPEAKE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Hopes that persisted all summer that COVID-19 wouldn’t disrupt athletic schedules were quickly deflated for a few local schools.

High school football kicked off Friday night in Kentucky and Ohio in front of full bleachers, but some stadiums where games had been scheduled remained empty.

Lucas Shepherd is the kicker on the Chesapeake football team and also plays soccer for the Panthers.

After a season of disruptions and cancelled games in 2020, like everyone else, Shepherd was hoping 2021 would be a return to normalcy, but last Monday, he tested positive for COVID-19.

“It mainly was a headache,” he said. “That was just tough, almost felt like a migraine, being in bed all the time, feeling lazy. It wasn’t ideal.”

Shepherd says he texted his coach and his boss at his job and apologized.

After his positive test, the Chesapeake soccer and football teams had to quarantine, stop practicing, and their opening games were cancelled.

Later several of his football teammates also tested positive for COVID-19.

“Being told I had to quarantine and that I caused my team to quarantine was a sickening feeling,” Shepherd said. “We worked hard all summer, practices and training every day, and then for the first game to get cancelled suddenly, it was a bummer.”

“It was huge, the disappointment in the coaching staff and Coach Knipp, the excitement about getting kids back face to face, so we took one on the chin at that time,” Chesapeake Superintendent Doug Hale said. “But those guys are resilient. They’ll bounce back.”

Monday at the soccer team’s first practice back from quarantine, Shepherd said his experience is a reminder for everyone to keep their guard up.

“It’s important to try to social distance whenever you can,” he said. “We’ve been through it for a year now. You never know when you can get it or where you can get it from.”

They’re hoping this turns out to be the lone asterisk on their schedule and not a trend.

Hale says the Panthers football team has halted practice until Thursday, and they’ve moved their week 2 game against Minford to Saturday to allow for an extra day of practice.

Shepherd says he has not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

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