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September 27, 2021

Defending 5A champs Orem dealing with monthlong layoff due to COVID-19 cancellations

OREM — When Mountain Ridge canceled this week due to COVID-19 issues, Orem High School’s football team found itself in the unique position of having more than a month’s layoff between games.

The defending 5A champs haven’t played since Sept. 11 after getting in five straight contests (3-2) to start the season.

Their next contest against Lehi (5-3) is scheduled for Oct. 14.

“To some degree, it’s depressing,” said Tigers coach Gabriel Sewell. “(It’s) very anxiety-filling to know that there’s games going on all over the state and for the last two weeks, we haven’t been able to take the field.”

Last week’s game was also canceled due to COVID-19.

Sewell said the first two weekends where Orem didn’t play were due to scheduling issues that surfaced prior to the season.

“I guarantee you that our kids are tired, you know, of banging each other up,” Sewell said.

Orem’s schedule may be hard-hit, but it’s far from the only school in Utah navigating the uncertainty of playing a football season in the pandemic.

There were five other cancellations this week around the state, including Mountain View-Cedar Valley, West Jordan-Granger, Highland-Murray, Weber-Roy and Duchesne-Rich.

“I don’t think there’s been too many guidelines or a protocol in terms of what happens when games have to be canceled,” Sewell said.

State playoffs are slated to begin the weekend of Oct. 23.

For now, Orem is simply hoping next week’s matchup survives and Sewell and his assistants are trying to keep their players focused.

“We pray that nothing happens from here on out and everyone stays healthy so that we can play the games that need to be played,” Sewell said. “Continue to keep the eye on the prize so that when the opportunity comes, we’re able to take care of our business.”

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Andrew Adams

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