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Mono outbreak causes cancellation of at least 2 HS football games

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A mono outbreak amongst football players at a Warren County high school has caused the cancellation of at least two football games.

Last Friday’s Warren Hills Regional High School football game was canceled due to the sick players. And school officials say that this Friday’s homecoming game against Rahway will also be forfeited.

Senior football player Jacob Smith says that he was disappointed that the games were canceled, but says that he understands why it had to be done.

"It stinks that it's our homecoming game. I’ve been waiting for this for four years. At the end of the day, it's safety that matters,” he says.

Smith says that he does not have mono. He was tested for it this past Saturday along with some of his other teammates. But Superintendent Earl Clymer says now that several additional players have tested positive, he does not feel it's safe for the students to play after consulting with medical staff.

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"I'm sure it is very disappointing; however, the other alternatives aren't very good either,” Clymer says. "This is how we're going to make sure everybody remains safe."

Clymer says that safety is a top priority among the school district and the community. He says that the community continues to feel the impact of the death of quarterback Evan Murray in 2015. Murray died from a lacerated spleen after taking a hit on the field. A medical examiner reportedly said Murray had mono which can cause the spleen to swell.

"We certainly want to learn from that tragedy and not make any decisions that could put someone else in harm's way,” the superintendent says.

And Smith says that the team understands the caution. He adds football practice is continuing:

"Everyone in administration has said if you're not 100% cleared of mono, you are not allowed to play. So, at this point there's no worry of anyone who's on the field right now of having mono,” says Smith.

Smith says that the team is now focusing on playing their rival Hackettstown in a game scheduled for Nov. 2.

"We have to move on. We have to keep going. And we have to enjoy whatever we can,” he says.

Hackettstown is the team's last regular-season game of the year. Whether they will be able to actually play in that game, will be determined day by day, according to Clymer.

Clymer says that while the homecoming football game is canceled, homecoming festivities are not. More information can be found on the high school's website.

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