MIAMI — It’s back to work for the Miami High School football team.
For the second time this season, the Wardogs are coming off an open Friday night.
They’re back in action, hosting Skiatook in a District 4A-3 game at Red Robertson Field.
Unlike earlier in the season when the Wardogs had a break before heading into district play, this one was forced by COVID-19 as their game at Catoosa was postponed.
“We are fortunate the way it’s affected us so far,” Miami head coach Zach Gardner said. “We blessed to have gotten in as many games as we have, other than having a few key players test positive and have to miss some contests. As a whole, it hasn't affected the team as far as games played — until this one.”
Miami will pass up on a chance to participate in an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association play-in game on Nov. 11 and instead make up the game with the Indians.
“It was pretty much a unanimous decision among the kids, and obviously the coaches and administration, that this was the way we were going to focus,” Gardner said. “People are very understanding that this is in the best interest for our program.”
This will be the first time the Dogs have played Skiatook since 2009.
Back then, MHS was in the final year of a stint in Class 5A, where they went 10-12 and reached the second round of the playoffs, upsetting Tulsa East Central before losing a heartbreaker to El Reno on a last-second touchdown.
Skiatook is in its first season back in 4A after a 14-year stint in Class 5A.
The Bulldogs are 2-1 in District 4A-3, beating Catoosa and Grove while losing to Cleveland.
The other loss was against 5A No. 3 Collinsville.
Miami suffered a 70-8 loss to Wagoner its last outing on Oct. 15 at Red Robertson Field.
“We have a very tough opponent in Skiatook this week and another one with Grove the next week,” Gardner said. “We are still day-by-day and week-by-week, so we are just doing the best we can with what we can control.
“They are very competitive and coming down from 5A. This probably is a more favorable district for them, besides the fact that there is Wagoner, and they weren’t able to get the Bristow game in last week. They are a good football team and are well coached. We expect them to be fully loaded.
The Bulldogs have been on distance learning since the district had four high school students test positive for COVID on Friday, Oct. 23.
That forced the quarantine of four teachers and 120 students.
Because of the inclement weather, Monday’s practice was held inside, but Gardner planned on having the next two workouts outside to acclimate players to the conditions.
“It’s kind of a touchy situation — not only is the virus going around, but how do you control your practices as far as putting the kids out in this every-changing weather and try to keep them healthy at the same time. You have to make tough decisions for your team. We feel we have to get at least one day out in the weather to get them acclimated to it and be prepared.”