Gunter football gets forfeit win vs. Blue Ridge; 11-3A volleyball in flux

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
The Gunter Tigers received a forfeit victory after Blue Ridge cancelled the District 8-3A (II) game this coming Friday due to positive COVID-19 cases.

The latest Texoma football team to be awarded a forfeit victory due to positive COVID-19 tests within an opponent's school is the Gunter Tigers, who found out on Sunday that Blue Ridge would be unable to play this coming Friday night after the school district moved to remote learning at all levels.

The Blue Ridge ISD announced: "In the interest of our students’ and staff’s health and in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, we will be moving all BRHS and BRMS students to remote learning Monday, October 19th-Friday, October 23rd. These campuses will resume normal operations on Monday, October 26th. During this time, all areas of both campuses will be cleaned and sanitized."

Gunter is looking to find another opponent for Friday because it had the bye in District 8-3A (II) this past week. Tigers head coach Jake Fieszel said it would depend on who else is looking for games this week and Gunter might end up going three weeks between games.

"We want to be smart about it," Fieszel said.

The forfeit is at the maximum 15 points, according to the district executive committee rules, if it is needed to determine tie-breakers.

Gunter (7-1, 4-0), which clinched a playoff spot with the victory, has two district games remaining — at Lone Oak on Oct. 30 and hosting S&S on Nov. 6.

Blue Ridge drops to 3-6 overall and 1-4 in district play. It has the district bye next Friday, Oct. 30, and then is scheduled to host Lone Oak to end the regular season.

Gunter is the second Texoma team this month to have district games cancelled. Pottsboro has received two forfeit victories, including this coming Friday against Bonham. The Cardinals were awarded a forfeit win against Commerce on Oct. 9.

Because the entire school district is shut down, the decision also affects the last week of volleyball matches in District 11-3A.

Blue Ridge is currently in second place: two matches behind Gunter and two in front of third-place Pottsboro. Blue Ridge was to host Bonham on Tuesday and play at Gunter on Friday.

Adding to the issues in 11-3A is that Bonham, which is currently in fourth place and hasn't clinched a playoff spot yet, announced last week it would not play its final three matches — against Bells last Friday, Bonham this Tuesday and Pottsboro on Friday.

There has been no decision on when, or if, any of the matches involving Blue Ridge or Bonham will be made up. District certification for the playoffs is Oct. 27 with the bi-district matches to occur later that week.

If Gunter wins on Tuesday against Whitewright, it would lock up the top seed and a loss by Bells against either Leonard on Tuesday or Whitewright on Friday would clinch a playoff spot for Bonham.

There would still be an issue to determine playoff seeding for second, third and fourth place between Blue Ridge, Pottsboro and Bonham.