Saturday, September 19, 2020


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Tribe Football Team Looking at Five-game League Schedule
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Football teams in the Pioneer Athletic Conference will likely start the fall season with five games. Schools wishing to schedule non-league games will be required to find their own opponents, according to Bill Ziegler, conference president.

            He said all sports remain on schedule to begin their competitions on Sept. 25. Golf teams can start having matches on Monday.

            Conference officials are preparing for their teams to be eligible to compete in the District 1 and PIAA playoffs. However, they are not sure what those tournament formats will look like for all sports, according to Ziegler. He said officials hope to publically release a schedule for all sports within a week or two.

            "This situation is very difficult to deal with," said Ziegler, the principal at Pottsgrove High School. "We play it by ear every day. We're measuring the statistics (related to the novel coronavirus pandemic) constantly."

             According to Upper Perk Coach Tom Hontz, the Indians will be severely challenged by their potential opponents, which includes Perkiomen Valley and Spring-Ford. In a text message, Hontz also expressed gratitude that the team will get to compete.

           "We will be severely outgunned by those teams, but we have to take what we can get," the coach wrote. "At least we are playing."

            Field hockey and soccer will rely on pod scheduling, according to Ziegler. He said it would likely help with contact tracing. Under that arrangement, the Indians would play one opponent – in a home-and-home series – twice during the same week.

            Half of the 12-member Pioneer Athletic Conference has opted not to compete to one degree or another. Norristown, Pottstown and Pope John Paul II will not participate in any sports. Phoenixville will only participate in singles tennis and golf. Upper Merion will compete in golf, girls tennis and cross country. Pottsgrove won't play football.

            According to Ziegler, Boyertown was expected to start its official fall practice this week as originally planned. Late in August, Athletic Director Dominic Palladino announced the temporary suspension of all extracurricular activities after an individual associated with the high school football team tested positive for COVID-19.

            Last week, Gov. Wolf moved to relax his ban on allowing spectators at athletic events. All sports-related activities must adhere to the gathering limitations set forth by the governor's plan for phased reopening – which calls for 25 or fewer people for indoor activity and 250 or fewer people for outdoor activity, according to a Return to Competition document posted on the PIAA's website.

            It states that the facility, as a whole, may not exceed 50 percent of total occupancy otherwise permitted by law and that all individuals present at the facility at which such activities are held count towards gathering limitations and must comply with the face-covering order and social distancing guidelines.

            Upper Perkiomen administrators have yet to fully consider how the new guidance will affect the district, according to spokesperson Nicole Gum. On Tuesday she wrote in an email message that the topic is still being discussed at the league level.

            "Once we have a plan in place we will discuss how it works for Upper Perk," she wrote.





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