VERNON – The Friday night lights were dark on Sept. 10 for the football game scheduled to take place between Vernon and Port St. Joe after the game was cancelled.
Explanation was given on an announcement on the Vernon High School Athletics Facebook page from Vernon Head Coach Gerald Tranquille: “Good afternoon," wrote Tranquille. "Wanted to let you guys know that unfortunately, the Port St. Joe vs. Vernon game has been canceled due to lack of numbers on our side from COVID and contact tracing.”
Port St. Joe Assistant Coach Tracey Browning reiterated the reasons for the cancellation in an interview Thursday with the Port St. Joe Star.
“I don’t know of any other reason other than COVID,” Browning said. “I talked with Coach Tranquille myself on Tuesday, and he told me he had 15 players out of Monday’s practice. He thought he was supposed to get five back Tuesday, but his health department in that county was not going to let them come back until Thursday, and he had lost two more players and a coach on Tuesday morning.”
Port St. Joe head coach Tanner Jones said that he and the team were disappointed at not being able to play the game, which appears unlikely to be made up.
The Tiger Sharks have been on an impressive roll at this early point of the season, with consecutive 36-0 wins over Marianna and Jefferson County.
Port St. Joe will travel to Wewa Sept. 17 to clash with the Gators, with the kickoff set for 8 p.m. EST.
Ken Paulk of the Port St. Joe Star contributed to this report.