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Illness, injuries force Bagley football team to forfeit playoff game

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A small roster coupled with untimely illness and injuries forced Bagley to forfeit a first-round football playoff game, which was scheduled for Tuesday at Hawley.

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"We are a little shorthanded to start with and we got hit at the wrong time with the bug," Bagley athletic director Doreen Zierer said. "It was a very tough decision to come to. ... It's just kind of a disappointing way to end the season. I feel bad for our kids."

The No. 2 seed in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 playoffs, Hawley practiced Tuesday instead of playing the game.

"We got a lot accomplished in practice," said Hawley coach Peder Naatz. "We had an idea last night (Monday) that this was possible. We wanted to prepare like we had a game and keep everything as normal as possible for the kids until we found out we weren't playing."

Zierer said Bagley school officials started looking into their options Monday with seven or eight players out due to injury or illness. Bagley has 31 players listed on its roster and 14 of those are freshmen.

Zierer said the team would have had 13 healthy players in Grades 10-12 if Bagley had played the game. Two players in that group were just returning from being sick.

Zierer was not sure if any of the illness among the players was H1N1.

"It's not like it's a major outbreak out here. The wrong kids got ill at the wrong time," Zierer said. "It came down to the fact of making sure that we put both our students and Hawley's students' safety and well being first. We didn't want to send kids that were going to be contagious down there."

Hawley defeated Bagley 63-0 when the teams met in the regular season. With the forfeit, Bagley ended its season with a 2-7 record.

The Nuggets (8-1) are set to host a section semifinal at 2 p.m. Saturday against the Frazee-Pelican Rapids winner.

The Forum and Bemidji Pioneer are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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