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Half Hollow Hills West football program in quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols

A football is placed in the end zone

A football is placed in the end zone of Oceanside's field after team practice on March 9. Credit: James Escher

For the first two weeks of the season keeping the integrity of the high school football schedule has been a challenge. They’ve been in constant flux because of COVID-19 protocols.

The changes with teams in quarantine have come on a daily basis. Teams have players in quarantine due to contact tracing, or positive tests, and cannot honor the schedule, leaving opponents with a void in the schedule.

In Suffolk League VI in what promised to be a game loaded with offensive fireworks, the Half Hollow Hills West at Westhampton contest scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday was postponed. Deb Ferry, the director of athletics for the Half Hollow Hills Central School District, confirmed that Hills West will be forced to quarantine for 10 days.

Hills West is the ninth Suffolk team in quarantine in the first two weeks of the season. The Colts join Harborfields, Rocky Point, Sayville, Northport and Commack in current quarantine.

On a positive note, Miller Place, Mount Sinai and Bayport-Blue Point are all back in action this week after being quarantined.

Those six schools in quarantine, left opponents to scramble to fill the schedule.

Joe Mercado, the director of athletics for the Middle Country Central School District, confirmed that Centereach, which plays in Suffolk IV, will host Westhampton at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

"There is an opportunity to play an outstanding team from outside our league," Mercado said. "We turned a potential off week into a positive. We’re very excited to host Westhampton."

Tim Horan, the director of athletics at West Islip School District and the Suffolk football chairperson, developed a portal where teams that are looking to schedule a game can go and make arrangements — even cross county games are recommended.

"It’s really helped teams find opponents," said Tom Combs, the executive director of Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk’s schools. "We have teams in quarantine and teams that need games and so does Nassau County. Tim took the initiative to develop this portal and it has paired teams up and kept them playing across Long Island. The positive side of this — some interesting matchups that we would normally never see."

Commack will miss its second game in a row, leaving Suffolk I Sachem North looking for a game. The Sachem North football team will play at Carey at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Carey was to host Sewanhaka in a Nassau Conference II game Saturday afternoon, but positive tests in the Sewanhaka program forced a cancellation, according to Section VIII executive director Pat Pizzarelli.

Hicksville was awarded a forfeit when the Herricks district announced they wouldn’t play any schools that don’t test weekly, leaving the Nassau I Comets without an opponent.

Brentwood was on the bye this week and will travel to Hicksville for a 2 p.m. start on Saturday.

Valley Stream Central was quarantined and will not play Garden City, leaving the Trojans without an opponent. Hills East, originally scheduled to play Northport, had scheduled a nonleague game earlier this week against Sayville. With Sayville now in quarantine, Hills East will play at Kings Park at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

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