The high school football postseason in New Jersey is underway, but a slew of teams will not be able to participate in the first round because of COVID-19 issues.
As of Friday afternoon, 50 teams have been forced to back out of the first round of New Jersey’s unique abbreviated two-week postseason because of coronavirus-related issues, according to NJ Advance Media. The teams unable to participate in the first round are eligible to return to the second if their school districts allow athletic activities to resume.
The district hit hardest by COVID-19 has been Newark. With positive cases spiking in New Jersey’s largest city, Mayor Ras Baraka canceled interscholastic activities for a two-week period this past week and stated that no team could return to action until each member of the group tested negative. Baraka’s decision forced six Newark district high schools to cancel their postseason games this weekend.
The Shore Conference has also been ravaged by COVID-19 outbreaks, as Freehold Township, Howell, Keyport, Lakewood, Long Branch, Ocean Township and Point Pleasant Boro have all shut down their athletic programs for the next two weeks. Jackson Liberty shifted to remote learning in October and canceled its remaining fall sports seasons.