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Century's soccer season comes to screeching halt after COVID-19 exposure

Century's soccer season comes to screeching halt after COVID-19 exposure

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Bismarck's Lucas Wetzel (23) plays the ball in front of Century's Blake Backman (9), Ryan Ketterling (16) and Bridger Anderson (17) during a game at MDU Resources Community Bowl. Tonight's game between the Demons and Patriots has been canceled due to exposure to COVID-19 on the Century roster.

Century’s soccer season came to a screeching halt on Tuesday.

The Patriots, beaten just once in nine games and with a 40-11 goal differential, were scheduled to play Bismarck High at the Bowl. Instead the matchup between the top two teams in the West Region was canceled due to a COVID-19 exposure to a significant number of the Patriots’ varsity players.

The game will not be made up. The Patriots will continue training, but there is no guarantee they will play again this season. The players exposed to the virus will have to quarantine for 14 days. The soccer season runs through Oct. 8-10.

"The good news is we are going to continue with our season as of right now but things could happen to change that," Okerson said. "We basically moved up our reserve roster to help us on varsity. We do have some varsity players available but not very many."

A best-case scenario would see the varsity players cleared for the one-day West Region tournament Oct. 3 in Mandan.

“This takes us out of any remaining WDA games,” Okerson said. “Hopefully if all goes well, we’ll be able to get the guys back before the WDA tournament.”

The players were exposed to the virus on the team bus, while following protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. Burleigh County has continued to have high case counts in recent weeks.

“They follow the rules. We as coaches are very adamant amount kids wearing masks and the kids are very good at adhering to that," Okerson said. "Unfortunately, it's one of those fluky deals and a significant number of kids were exposed."

The Patriots were undefeated until a 1-0 loss on Saturday at Minot. Tuesday’s game against Bismarck at the Bowl would’ve been a marquee event. The Demons also have just one loss. It would've been the second game between the rivals. Century edged BHS 4-3 on Aug. 20.

“We need to make sure we limit the exposure as best we can and try to keep everyone safe,” Okerson said. “We had a significant number of players taken out by this. It severely limits our ability to field a competitive team, especially against a team like BHS.

“It’s unfortunate for everyone. You feel bad for the seniors especially. We’ll take it day by day and see where we’re at in a couple of weeks.”

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