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Sherman’s CJ Winnell (4) tries to escape the grasp of a Van defender in the Tide’s 30-8 win over the Bulldogs in the “Showdown for the Shovel” rivalry game in 2019.

BOONE COUNTY — Fans of Scott, Van and Sherman football will see some differences in the way teams operate in Boone County in relation to COVID-19 guidelines released last week by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission. The guidelines must be followed by public schools around the state.

The SSAC released guidelines for altering pre-game, in-game and post-game activities. Rules for playoff eligibility were relaxed, along with waiving the requirement that teams play at least eight games overall and six in their own divisions to qualify for the postseason.

The WVSSAC issued five required game-day rules:

  • The coaching box will be extended from between the 30-yard lines to between the 15-yard lines to encourage social distancing.
  • All water or other hydrating solutions will be provided in individual containers. Public water sharing systems will not be permitted.
  • Sidelines will be limited to essential personnel such as coaches, players, trainers, managers, etc.
  • Time outs and time between quarters will be two minutes.
  • Social distancing announcements are to be made over the public address system throughout the games.

The WVSSAC issued 14 recommendations:

  • Travel with fewer players to away games and dress fewer players at home games.
  • Modify pregame meals so personnel eat in smaller groups.
  • Use extra dressing facilities, come partially dressed to away games, dress in smaller pods of 10-15 players at a time. Arrange dressing and shower situations with the host team.
  • Conduct halftime in the end zones rather than locker rooms.
  • Consider pay-per-view options to recover lost revenue.
  • Modify transportation and bus options per West Virginia State Department of Health and Human Resources guidelines.
  • Limit contact in practice to one day per week.
  • No pregame or postgame handshakes.
  • Use electronic tickets rather than paper.
  • Position hand sanitizing stations on sidelines.
  • Ask CDC COVID-19 screening questions. Follow local health department guidelines for reporting suspicious cases.
  • Use disinfectants and cleaning agents in line with CDC and WVDHHR protocols for cleaning equipment, facilities, etc.
  • Recommend band and cheerleaders not travel to away games.
  • Review face shield information to be made available to all schools.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry or at