HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Unbeaten Bunker Hill hits bumps in the road

1 player ejected, 9 DQed at North Iredell;

staph infection breakout to impact roster as well




CLAREMONT – Bunker Hill High’s varsity football team is navigating two road bumps as it prepares to go for a 4-0 start.

The Bears (3-0) open Catawba Valley 2A Athletic play on Friday at home against Lincolnton (7:30 p.m.), and they will be without some players.

The Bears last played on Sept. 2 – winning a non-league game 27-20 in Olin over North Iredell – and they will battle the Wolves without one player who was ejected in that game.

Bunker Hill had a bye last week.

On Wednesday, Catawba County Director of High School and Athletics for Catawba County Schools Lee Miller told some media Bunker Hill had cases of staph infection that could impact the varsity football roster.

There was no press release or social media posts about the staph infection(s) from CCS nor any public notice regarding Bunker Hill on the CCS website (and none at the time of this story posting to our website).

WHAT IS STAPH INFECTION?: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21165-staph-infection-staphylococcus-infection

HobbsDailyReport.com received Miller’s statement on Thursday. It said:

  • The school was reported to have two student-athletes with cases of staph infection.
  • After football pads were treated with disinfectant on Tuesday, five additional players reported to the athletic department they received treatment at urgent care facilities for skin irritation. Due to chemical residue that remained on the pads, some of the athletes developed skin irritation, and all players were instructed at that time to remove the pads. Parents of players were notified to seek medical attention, if necessary, and at least one instance of second-degree chemical burn was reported to head football coach Albert Reid.
  • Morgan Williams, CCS Health and Environmental Coordinator, is working to determine causes, outcomes and further prevention to ensure the health and safety of all players.

There has been no indication of how many players might not be available to play on Friday or if any junior varsity players were affected that could miss playing at Lincolnton on Thursday night (7 p.m.).

As a general rule of respecting privacy, HobbsDailyReport.com does not ask for any information about student-athletes like names, jersey number, grade in school or position(s) played so the individual remains anonymous to the general public.

Bunker Hill Principal Preston Clarke has confirmed the Bears and North Iredell had an incident in the Sept. 2 game that halted it for 30 minutes and led to decisions by game officials.

Clarke said he was informed by a North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) letter the Bears must hold out one player from the next game and an additional nine players were disqualified (which does not carry any NCHSAA penalty).

Andy Howell, varsity head coach at North Iredell, said the Raiders had one player ejected (will miss Friday’s game at Fred T. Foard) and had 12 players disqualified.

There is National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA) video of the game, including the 30-minute stoppage.

On a punt exchange, a player for each team was involved in a skirmish during the play and other players from both teams were on the field at that time as well.

After a discussion by officials, they ejected the two players involved in the skirmish and issued 21 disqualifications.

The number of ejections versus players being disqualified is no longer as impactful as previously.

Prior to the signing of a Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the State Board of Education and the NCHSAA that developed from House Bill 91, any team that had more than six (or more) players ejected in a season lost state playoff eligibility, as did any school that had three (or more) players ejected for fighting in a season.

An e-mail response from James Alverson, assistant commissioner for Media Relations, Special Events and Publications for the NCHSAA, clarified the current ejection rules:

“The NCHSAA does not comment on particular instances, violations, ejections, etc. Any information you can obtain about those situations can be obtained from the member school or involved school district. Under the Memorandum of Understanding we signed with the State Board of Education, the ejection penalties for students are:

  • 1 game for the first ejection/offense by a student.
  • 2 games for a second ejection/offense by a student.
  • 365-day suspension from all athletics for a third ejection/offense by a student.

There are no consequences for teams based on a specific number of ejections in a game/season, etc.

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