MCHS practice

Madison County football players are pictured practicing Thursday evening. A coach, who was not at that practice, has tested positive for coronavirus. The team's practices have now been shut down for two weeks.

Madison County’s football preparations for the 2020 season have been shut down for two weeks following a coach’s positive test for coronavirus. The coach, who is not being named by administrators, was reported to have mild symptoms.

Red Raider practices won’t be held until Aug. 19. Coach Chris Smith said Monday that players with direct contact with the coach will have to quarantine. Any positive tests by the team or staff will start the clock over on the shutdown, he said.

Smith said it’s disappointing to be off the field, but he said there’s a bigger picture to consider.

“We have to consider health over athletics,” said Smith. “It’s stressful, and you ultimately want to be able to play, but you have to make sure kids, parents and grandparents are safe.”

Smith said that if the team is able to get back on the field on Aug. 19, it will have to go through a mandatory five-day acclimation period, practicing without pads. That means the team won’t be in pads until Aug. 26. The Red Raiders are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 4 at Habersham Central, with the first home game set for Sept. 11 versus Holy Innocents’.

“It definitely puts us at a disadvantage losing the two weeks of practice,” said Smith.

He said the team will hold Zoom meetings and players may work on their own to stay in shape, but they can’t work on the field.

“We weren’t the first to be shutdown and we won’t be the last,” said Smith. “We’ll get through it. Everything is just going to be different. And we’ve got to be able to adapt.”

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