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Football games continue to be rescheduled earlier due to threat of EEE

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, October 1, 2019, 12:57 pm

The threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis — one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. — remains an issue for Michigan high school athletic directors and administrators to grapple with this season, especially across southwestern and western Michigan.  

As of Monday, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there had been nine confirmed cases of EEE, all located in Southwest Michigan: Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

Of those nine cases, three have resulted in fatalities.

Outside those six counties, animals in Allegan, Genesee, Jackson, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo and St. Jospeph counties have been confirmed with cases of EEE.

Aerial spraying has begun in all those impacted counties to kill the mosquitoes which carry the disease. 

The MDHHS has also recommended that outdoor activities at or after dusk, when the mosquitoes are active, be postponed, moved up or canceled. 

That’s where the dilemma comes in for athletic directors and school administrators comes in: Do they leave games scheduled for 7 p.m. alone? Or do they play it safe and change the time? 

As a result, many individual districts in those impacted areas have made the decisions to move football games to earlier in the evening to lessen the risk of exposing fans and players to peak mosquito hours. 

As of noon on Tuesday, 34 games in those areas (two 8-player games and the rest 11-player contests) have been moved up from the normal 7 p.m. start times for Friday, Oct. 4.

Here is the current list, based on information on the MHSAA’s schedule page:

FRIDAY’S 11-PLAYER GAMES

4:30 p.m. starts

Grand Haven at East Kentwood

Hudsonville at Grandville

Wyoming at Holland West Ottawa

Coldwater at Marshall

5 p.m. starts

Kalamazoo Central at Battle Creek Central

South Bend (Ind.) Clay at Benton Harbor

Comstock Park at Byron Center

Rockford at Caledonia

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central at Cedar Springs

Galesburg-Augusta at Fennville

Allendale at Grand Rapids Catholic Central

Middleville Thornapple Kellogg at Grand Rapids Christian

Niles Brandywine at Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian at Comstock Park

Muskegon Mona Shores at Grand Rapids Union

Flint Beecher vs Grandville Calvin Christian at Grandville Middle School

Mendon at Hartford

Zeeland East at Holland

Gobles at Lawton

Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills at Lowell

Centreville at Marcellus

Lake Odessa Lakewood at Stockbridge

Ada Forest Hills Eastern at Wayland

Hopkins at Wyoming Godwin Heights

5:15 p.m. starts

Three Rivers at South Haven

5:30 p.m. starts

East Grand Rapids vs. Grand Rapids South Christian at Fifth Third Ball Park

Holland Christian at Hamilton

Kalamazoo Loy Norrix at Mattawan

Portage Northern at Niles

St. Joseph at Portage Central

Cassopolis at White Pigeon

6 p.m. starts

Saugatuck at Buchanan

6:30 p.m. starts

Springport at Jonesville

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FRIDAY’S 8-PLAYER GAMES

5 p.m. starts

Colon at Bellevue

Climax-Scotts at Tekonsha 

—————

Breakdown by county: Kent 13, Van Buren 4, Allegan 3, Berrien 3, Calhoun 3, Ottawa 2, Cass 1, Eaton 1, Hillsdale 1, Ingham 1, Kalamazoo 1, St. Joseph 1.

 

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Here are the list of games moved up for Friday, Oct. 11:

4:30 p.m. starts

Jackson Lumen Christi at Battle Creek Harper Creek

Hastings at Battle Creek Pennfield

Holland at East Kentwood

Caledonia at Grand Haven

Portage Central at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix

5 p.m. starts

Hopkins at Belding

Mattawan at Benton Harbor

Zeeland East at Byron Center

Schoolcraft at Coloma

White Pigeon at Eau Claire

Lawton at Fennville

Saugatuck at Galesburg-Augusta

Niles Brandywine at Gobles

Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern

Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central at Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills

Allendale at Grand Rapids West Catholic

Newaygo at Grant

Grand Rapids Northview at Greenville

Marcellus at Hartford

Niles at Kalamazoo Central

Delton Kellogg at Kalamazoo United

Cedar Springs at Lowell

East Grand Rapids at Middleville Thornapple Kellogg

Stockbridge at Perry

Hudsonville at Rockford

Wayland at Wyoming

5:15 p.m. starts

Vicksburg at Paw Paw

5:30 p.m. starts

Bloomingdale at Cassopolis

Grand Rapids South Christian at Grand Rapids Christian

Grandville at Holland West Ottawa

Richland Gull Lake at Stevensville Lakeshore

Otsego at Plainwell

6 p.m. starts

Wyoming Godwin Heights at Wyoming Kelloggsville (1-0 Godwin Heights forfeit win)