The first UIL Texas high school football team cancels its season

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The Texas high school football season is scheduled to kick off in less than three weeks, but it won’t be with at least one program.

Ben Bolt canceled its high school football season on Monday, athletic director Gary Cunningham confirmed to Quinton Martinez of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, becoming the first UIL Texas high school football team to abandon its 2020 campaign.

The move comes on the heels of Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD’s school board voting to start the school year virtually for the first nine weeks of the year, accepting the recommendation of Jim Wells County health officials. That means that Ben Bolt High School will be remote at least through October 9, with no extracurricular activities happening during the remote period.

That would mean that the Badgers — a member of District 16-2A Division I — would not be able to play a game until early November. The first week of games for Class 4A and below, as set forth by the UIL, is scheduled for August 27.

The move also cancels Ben Bolt’s volleyball season.

The Coastal Bend area has been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s already impacted high school football. Beeville ISD suspended all student activities indefinitely on Sunday night; Taft did the same last week, as did Skidmore-Tynan. As of Thursday, Jim Wells County — located west of Corpus Christi with a population of just over 40,000, most centralized in the county seat of Alice —had 705 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Ben Bolt’s cancellation leaves District 16-2A Division I with four schools — Santa Maria, La Villa, Premont and Riviera-Kaufer — meaning that all four would make the playoffs.

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