The 2020 Dell Rapids St Mary Cardinal football season has not gone according to play to say the least. The Cardinals currently have a 4-2 season record and have advanced to the quarterfinals of the 9B playoffs, but they have not played a down of football since Friday, October 2nd.
The Cardinals were one of the first team to have their scheduled altered due to the Covid pandemic. St Mary was scheduled to open the season in Estelline against Estelline/Hendricks on Friday, August 21st, but the Redhawks had to cancel that game due to Covid. In less than 24 hours after that announcement, the Cardinals found a new season-opener opponent in Florence/Henry.
St Mary started their season with a 1-2 record in their first three games. They were able to turn things around at home against Alcester-Hudson with a 52-38 victory on Friday, September 11th. They followed that win with two big road wins over Avon on September 18th and Centerville on October 2nd.
Things then went sideways for the Cardinals. Their final two regular season games had to be cancelled due to Covid. St Mary was scheduled to play Colman-Egan on October 9th. That game was then moved to Monday, October 12th, but ultimately cancelled when St Mary closed the school during Homecoming week October 12th through the 16th. That also meant the Homecoming game against Elkton-Lake Benton was also cancelled.
Despite having the last two games cancelled, St Mary qualified for the 9B playoffs as the #1 seed in Region 2. School was back in session, and the team was back on the practice field. Everything was set for the Cardinals to host the Bison Cardinals on Thursday, October 22nd in the opening round of the playoffs.
Then the team received the news on the evening of Wednesday, October 21st. Bison was forfeiting the playoff game and will not be making the trip to Dell Rapids. This news coming less than 24 hours before the scheduled kickoff.
“It’s very disappointing for the team. The team, as well as the coaches and our administration, have already put a lot of time into this game, and then to have to find out they are backing out from a third party is ridiculous. How Bison handled the situation from start to finish was just absurd. I feel bad for the kids missing out on a game because another team who had plenty of time to figure things out decided to pull out less than 24 hours before kickoff,” said head coach Ross Flemmer.
St Mary will not move their focus to the quarterfinals. The Cardinals will travel to Faith and play the Faith Longhorns on Thursday, October 29th.