One of the biggest high school football rivalry games in Southland, the annual Turkey Tussle between Muir and Pasadena, was canceled on Monday due to coronavirus health and safety protocols.
The game was scheduled to be played at the Rose Bowl on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Muir manager Lawton Gray confirmed the cancellation on Monday evening, explaining that several Muir players would not be allowed to train this week during their quarantine due to coronavirus protocols. This, Gray said, forced the school to make the difficult decision to call off the game.
“We have learned that an athlete who was scheduled to participate in this week’s game has tested positive for COVID-19,” Gray wrote in a letter sent to the Muir and PHS football programs. “In accordance with Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), Pasadena Health Department and California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) protocols, athletes will need to be quarantined.
“While we realize this is very disappointing news for the PHS and Muir communities, the health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority. “
Friday’s game was going to be for more than the town’s bragging rights; it was also for the Pacific League title.
Muir is 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the league, and Pasadena is 7-2, 4-0. The teams will likely end up as co-champions of the league, Lawton explained, as the CIF southern section expects schools to declare a no-contest when games are called off for coronavirus-related reasons.
“We’re going to sort this out this week,” Gray said. “It’s just a very disappointing night to have to make this decision. I feel so bad for everyone who is looking forward to this game.
The annual Turkey Tussle has been played at the Rose Bowl every year since 1954. The game was not played last fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the teams played during the shortened spring season.
In the spring, Pasadena defeated Muir, 33-6, for the first time since 2015 and only for the second time since 1995.
This season, both teams have already qualified for the CIF-SS football qualifiers. They will discover their playoff division on Sunday when the brackets are released.
No surprise, but the cancellation of the match hit both teams hard.
“It’s disappointing man. The kids here are crying about it, it’s the game, ”Pasadena football coach Dejuan Shamburger said. “This is the Rose Bowl, this is for the bragging rights of the city, this is the game for your seniors, your coming home, the one everyone is playing for. To have that taken away when there is so much to do about it… I don’t know what to say, it’s devastating.
Muir’s football coach Zaire Calvin was unavailable for comment, but Gray expressed his disappointment. In the letter he sent, he left open the possibility of playing the game after the season, although that did not seem possible.
“We wanted to play them, and I wish there was a way to do it because I know how important this game is for our players, for their players, it’s just a blow to everyone “Gray said. “But with the contact tracing and all the precautions you need to take, there just was no way. I wish there was something we could do, but there’s not much you can do with the security protocols you have to follow. “
Pasadena could look for a replacement opponent this week to play a final game of the regular season. But Shamburger said that even if they find an opponent, he’s not sure the Rose Bowl will be available.
“We just don’t know,” Shamburger said. “We don’t know if the Rose Bowl will let us play a game if Muir isn’t involved. And we have to decide if there’s a game we can find, and if it’s a game, we should play with the (playoffs) next week.
“I’m sure we’ll figure all this out (in the next few days), I’m just disappointed about it again. I feel so bad for our kids, we were really looking forward to Friday.