The annual Flowery Branch-Gainesville rivalry game has been canceled due to COVID-19 positive cases inside the Flowery Branch football program.
Branch head coach Ben Hall confirmed the cancellation Wednesday morning. The game will not be made up.
"Unfortunately, we needed to cancel due to the rising numbers in the school and the team," Hall said. "We felt it was in the best interest to get everybody healthy."
Hall said the two schools mutually agreed to cancel the contract so both could find other games at some point this season. Both Branch and Gainesville have an off-week scheduled for next week, but because of quarantine protocols set by the state and the GHSA, Flowery Branch would be pushing the limits to be ready by next Friday.
"We want to play next week, but it depends on the health of our kids," Hall said.
Gainesville coach Heath Webb said, on Wednesday, they currently are working to possibly find a team to play this week. If not, they'll look for an opponent next week or on the Red Elephants' Oct. 8 open date.
"It needs to be a team that is willing to travel to us because it's a scheduled home game," Webb said. "We don't want to lose a home game for financial purposes, and our seniors deserve to play at home. It's a matter of finding a team that is willing to travel on short notice. There is another possibility, if we can't pull it off in two days, that we can look to find somebody for another open date."
Webb said he feels for all involved in this game and is disappointed the game has been canceled
"I really feel for our kids because it means so much to them," he said. "They have put a lot of hard work in this week and diligent preparation in that game, so I hate it for our players. I also know our players want to play a game this week, so out of respect for them, we're going to try and find them one."