Tug Valley entered the Class A playoffs as the No. 1 overall seed and the team to beat.

The Panthers didn’t get a chance to make a run at the state title and had to forfeit their first round game to Tygarts Valley due COVID-19 restrictions.

Mingo County was in red last week and had to get out of the red metric in the color coded system before Sunday’s scheduled kickoff or the Panthers would have to forfeit.

The Panthers had to indeed forfeit.

To lose a game outright, or any host of other reasons can be accepted. However, to forfeit and lose because Mingo County was labeled red, not allowing the players the chance to play while neighboring counties teams can play is a very tough pill to swallow.

 It’s actually crazy to think about; The No. 1 seed in the playoffs, will not be playing in the playoffs.

Tug Valley will finish the regular season undefeated at 3-0, but one must wonder, should this game be counted against their unblemished record?

It seems the kids had a chance at a possible Class A state title stripped away through no fault of their own.

How awful for seniors like Caleb May, Joby Sorrell, Hunter Ooten, Easton Davis, Ian Reed, Mason Mullins, Brandon Moore and Shane Russell. Young athletes who have poured their heart, soul and a lot of sweat for this very opportunity. It’s just totally heartbreaking.

With Tug Valley (3-0) having to forfeit, Tygarts Valley (7-2) will advance to the quarterfinals where they will face No. 8 seed Pendleton County (6-2).

That game will be played on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. pending if Randolph County improves from orange.

Tug Valley will surely be back in the hunt next season, but will have to replace seven seniors.

The Panthers have vastly improved in coach Hady Ford’s two seasons at the helm. The Panthers finished the regular season undefeated at 3-0.   

It has not been determined if the forfeit will count against Tug Valley’s overall record.

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