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Orange-Albemarle football game ruled a no contest by VHSL, will not be played

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Orange County’s Naziere McIntosh runs the ball during last season’s game against Albemarle at Porterfield Park.

One of the biggest high school football matchups on this year’s Jefferson District schedule will not be played.

Virginia High School League executive director Billy Hahn ruled Monday that last Friday’s regular season game between Orange County and Albemarle has been ruled a no contest.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but was pushed back 24 hours last week because of the concern for impactful weather from the remnants of Hurricane Ian.

“We originally asked for the game to be played at 5 p.m. [last] Friday to help our operations run smoothly,” Albemarle athletic director Lisa Bendall said. “The OC administrative team did not support this time, so we offered Saturday at 2 p.m., which would allow any students who may have signed up for taking the SAT at either school that morning to have time to arrive for the contest.”

On Saturday, Orange County Superintendent Dr. Daniel Hornick canceled all scheduled events for students over the weekend due to the weather and the concern for travel by students and community members.

“We offered a makeup game on Monday at 5 p.m. to comply with VHSL rules, stating that postponed contests would be made up the following calendar day, except on Sunday,” Bendall said. “Orange again declined that time on Monday, citing safety of their student-athletes.”

That’s when the VHSL stepped in.

Hahn made the decision based on Policy 68-3-2 in the VHSL Handbook and Policy Manuel, which states that “the VHSL Executive Director shall set the date when two schools cannot agree on a make-up date.”

“Dr. Haun certainly understands Albemarle High School community events that led to the cancellation of playing on Friday evening and the weather circumstances that led to Orange County’s caution on traveling on Saturday,” Mike McCall, the VHSL’s director of communications, said on Monday. “Both of the decisions were made due to safety conditions, keeping our students safe should always be the number one priority.”

McCall said both schools had already had their bye week on this year’s schedule, which made potentially rescheduling the game difficult.

“Dr. Haun did not see an option for this game to be played on each of the school’s remaining schedule,” McCall said.

Orange County entered last week with a 4-0 record, including a 1-0 mark against district competition. The Hornets have a big rivalry matchup this Friday against unbeaten Louisa County at Portfield Park in Orange.

“The kids were upset that we were not able to play, but we have to control what we can control,” Orange County football coach Jesse Lohr said. “We have another big game this weekend. We will get the kids up and ready to go.”

Albemarle also has had a great start to the season as well. Coach Brandon Isaiah Sr.’s team is 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in district play. The Patriots will travel to Crozet to take on Western Albemarle in another showdown of Jefferson District contenders on Friday.

“We are of course disappointed that a resolution was not reached and that the teams could not play,” Bendall said.

The VHSL is set to send out its first power ratings numbers this week. Instead of power-points formula being divided by 10 games, Albemarle and Orange County will have a nine-team divider.

“This will have zero impact on their points,” McCall said. “Playing nine games does not put either school at a disadvantage.”

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