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Bennett High School and McQuaid Jesuit High School play tonight, controversy continues

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Posted at 5:46 PM, Nov 23, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Bennett High School will play McQuaid Jesuit in a regional football game Tuesday evening after controversy surrounding the game.

“It is not a problem that we are afraid to play,” Sharon Belton-Cottman from the Buffalo Board of Education said. “Our concern is our safety.”

Saturday's game was postponed after McQuaid reported several COVID-19 cases on their team. Bennett students and parents say they had to cut their season short last year after one player tested positive and they weren’t allowed to reschedule any games.

“The rules were written in stone, this year they’re written in sand and the tides coming in,” Buffalo School Board president Louis Petrucci said.

“We’re simply concerned with the precedence this could establish as we move towards our winter sports season and ultimately our spring sports season,” executive director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Robert Zayas said.

This isn’t the end of the fight, Buffalo public school board members say they will appeal the determination made Tuesday morning, even though the game will be played.

“But it will be played under protest,” General counsel for Buffalo Public School District Nate Kuzma said.

Buffalo public school board members say this an inequity. Lawyers for McQuaid say no player or coach who is still within their ten-day quarantine period will be at the game.

“When this game takes place this evening, it will be an eminently safe game,” attorney Terry Connors said.

Erie County attorney Jeremy Toth said Monroe County is the only one that lets students test for extracurricular activities.

“There no such thing as test to play, there is a test to stay,” Toth said.

He said the New York State Department of Health does not believe test to play is the correct interpretation of the rule. The NYSPHSAA said this decision was out of their hands.

“Everyone has to fight for our children,” Belton-Cottman said. “It’s time out for our children being treated differently than other children.”