ALTAMONT — With the potential to earn a share of the SEK League title at stake, the Labette County Grizzlies will face the Chanute Blue Comets at home shorthanded.

Five players, all starters, for Labette County, have been quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five players were quarantined because of contact tracing.

“These were all starters,” Labette County head coach Sean Price said. “It’s not like we lost kids that aren’t playing. I could’ve said we won’t play, but we’re not going to do that. Our kids worked hard and earned the right to play. We’ve been great with all of our kids and they have an opportunity to win a football game.” 

Labette County is coming off two straight wins over Coffeyville and St. Michael the Archangel, a win streak that shrugged off an 0-5 start to the campaign.

“Our kids practice hard anyway, so you would’ve never known we were 0-5,” Price said. “But it’s been great after winning two games at home. It’s been a good week of practice.” 

Labette County is 2-5 overall while Chanute is 2-3. The Blue Comets are 1-2 in SEK League play while the Grizzlies are 1-1.

Labette County can earn a three-way share of the league title if it beats Chanute and Coffeyville beats undefeated Fort Scott.

“We’re putting pressure on those younger kids because we’re going to play a whole bunch of them now,” Price said. “I think we can go out and win a ballgame. I love our kids and love how we practice. We’re in good shape and like our chances.” 

Friday will also mark the final regular season game of the season for both teams before the start of the Class 4A playoffs.

For Price, making it to eight games through a season defined by uncertainty is an accomplishment by its own merit.

“2020 is going to be in the history books for a lot of different reasons,” Price said. “The league had a lot of parity and the pandemic made it even more so this year. For us, we’ve played the most games. We’re the only school in the league to play eight games. That speaks volumes of our kids. We’ve done the right things.” 

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