A flu virus that has ravaged Cardinal Newman's football team is likely to help Hammond extend its winning streak in an unusual way.
With so many of its players sick and unable to attend school or practice, the Cardinals have shut down their program until Monday at the earliest.
That means tonight's game with Hammond, scheduled for Cardinal Newman's George Watson Field at 7:30, can't be played until Monday.
If the Cardinals are not able to play that day, the game would be forfeited to Hammond.
Athletics officials from both schools will talk again today about the situation. But Cardinal Newman coach Mike Bolchoz is skeptical.
"When these kids come back, what can we get out of them (on the field)?" Bolchoz said. "We hate that this happened but we need to take care of these athletes and keep it from spreading."
Hammond, ranked No. 1 in SCISA Class 3A after winning the past three state championships, is 6-0 this season and has won 13 consecutive games.
Skyhawks coach Erik Kimrey said he was contacted by Cardinal Newman officials Wednesday with word that the Cardinals would be unable to play. Bolchoz said he had "at least 30 percent" of the team missing at the two practices he attempted early this week before shutting the program down.
Cardinal Newman officials had the team's locker room, training room and equipment room disinfected. The school remained open Thursday and Bolchoz said the flu outbreak is limited to his team.
"This is not a school situation," he said.
Mike Fanning, athletics director for the S.C. Independent Schools Association, said his organization requires players to be fever-free for 48 hours before resuming athletics activities.
The Hammond-Cardinal Newman game isn't the only game impacted by the flu. Fanning said a game between Jefferson Davis and Wardlaw has been ruled a forfeit win for Wardlaw because Jefferson Davis has closed its school due to a flu outbreak.