West Virginia State Football Championship Games Called Off By Coronavirus; Winners Declared

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The governing body for high school sports in West Virginia has canceled the state football championship games due to the coronavirus pandemic and instead declared winners in each class.

The Secondary School Activities Commission made the announcement Saturday night after the state Department of Education released its color-coded county map that determines whether athletic competitions can be played. St. Marys was declared the champion in Class A, Fairmont Senior in Class AA and South Charleston in Class AAA.

“It is an unfortunate situation for everyone, but we knew going into the playoffs that this could be a possibility,” SSAC executive director Bernie Dolan said in a statement.

Ritchie County was supposed to play St. Marys for the Class A title next weekend, but Ritchie County is in the highest-risk red category where athletic competitions are barred due to the virus.

Fairmont Senior advanced to the Class AA championship game over Bluefield on Saturday.

But the Sunday Class AA semifinal game between Oak Glen and Robert C. Byrd was called off by the SSAC decision, as were the Class AAA semifinal games Sunday between South Charleston and Musselman, and Cabell Midland and Bridgeport. Those games had involved some teams from counties in higher-risk categories on the state virus map.

The decision came a day after the SSAC decided to move the title games from Wheeling to Charleston because Ohio County remained in the higher-risk orange category under the state’s COVID-19 metrics map.

Saturday’s decision ended the season.

“We congratulate the winners,” Dolan said. “It has been an emotional journey for everyone involved. We wish there could have been championship games but the map did not allow the games to be played.”

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