Entire high school football team sidelined due to COVID-19 exposure

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. — School officials say 110 student athletes at Newnan High School in Coweta County are under quarantine after exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Channel 2′s Michael Sieden talked to a spokesperson with the Coweta County School district, who said that a player on the varsity football team tested positive last Saturday. That player and his family immediately notified the team and the school district.

Under state health guidelines, players won't be able to practice until the end of the month. It's unclear where the student contracted the virus, but players said they are required to wear masks when the aren't wearing helmets and that they are working out in smaller groups to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Students in Coweta County are participating in remote learning, so no other students were exposed.

Seiden talked to a senior who is one of the team captains. Bryson Moss is a senior running back with the team and just earned a Division 1 football scholarship to Eastern Michigan. He said he was caught by surprise when a teammate tested positive.

“I didn’t hear about it until actually the day after,” Moss said. “I was like, ‘Why are we not practicing?‘”

Moss said that by all accounts, everyone seems to be healthy. But the players, especially the seniors, are anxious to get back on the field and prepare for the season opener.

"A lot of guys on our team are in that exact position, kind of banking on this senior season, getting to play college football, and it's just tough for some of these guys," Bryson Moss said. "Hopefully, we get to play and some opportunities open up because we have a lot of talented guys on our team."

Moss said the players just finished their first week of quarantine and after next week, they should be able to get back on the field.

Moss said that he understands the seriousness of the virus, but at the same time he’s anxious to start playing again.

“They say we’re going to have a season, so that’s what we’re working toward,” Moss said.

Despite major college football conferences canceling their seasons, the Georgia High School Athletics Association is moving forward with the season. Newnan kicks off its opener on Sept. 4.

Fulton, DeKalb and Newton counties have all decided to postpone play until later in the month. More districts are expected to join the list over the next two weeks.

“If it doesn’t got as planned, we’ll adjust to that,” Moss said.

He said not having a full season could have a tremendous impact on his teammates’ futures.

“Football means a lot to some of the kids who don’t have opportunities other kids may have,” Moss said. “For a lot of kids, football is their way out, and their way of making their family proud.”