Friday’s scheduled football game between the Magnolia Panthers and the Arkansas High (TexARKana) Razorbacks has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Magnolia School District made the announcement on Monday afternoon.
The game has been ruled a “no contest” which means it will not be rescheduled.
The game was to have served as Magnolia’s Homecoming, but all Homecoming activities – including the traditional Friday afternoon introduction of the Homecoming Court at Panther Arena -- will be rescheduled for a date to be determined.
Magnolia Superintendent John Ward said that on Monday, 12 Magnolia Panthers football players either did not come to school or were sent home because they displayed symptoms of the virus.
The student athletes have not yet been tested for the virus, but will be, Ward said.
Symptomatic students who test positive for COVID-19 face a 14-day quarantine period. Students who test negative after showing symptoms must remain symptom-free for 48 hours before returning to school.
Ward said that currently symptomatic football players who are free of symptoms on Tuesday won’t be able to return to school until Thursday at the earliest. This means that they would have inadequate time to prepare for their football game.
Six Magnolia students are in quarantine because they have had exposure to someone who has COVID-19, Ward said.
The status of the game between the Panthers and their Friday, October 2 game at Hot Springs Lakeside will also be determined at a later date.
The cancellation of Friday’s game is a disappointment to both teams. Texarkana just played its first game of the season last week after suffering COVID-19 related cancellations of earlier games.
Magnolia is 3-1 and has been ranked as the No. 4 team in Arkansas Class 5A – its highest ranking in years – with non-conference wins against Crossett, Little Rock Christian and El Dorado. Its only loss was to Harrison, a state semi-finalist in 2019.
Late last week, Crossett cancelled its next two football games after several players showed symptoms of the virus. Magnolia had played Crossett two weeks earlier.