Friday’s Sandwich vs. Plano varsity game canceled by ‘a COVID situation’

Second straight season that ‘War on 34′ rivalry game has been canceled

For the second straight season — and second time this calendar year — the Sandwich versus Plano “War on 34″ rivalry game will not be played due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sandwich athletic director Timothy Gipe confirmed Wednesday morning that Friday’s scheduled varsity contest at Sandwich “has been canceled because of a COVID situation here at Sandwich High School.” The sophomore game at 5 p.m. was canceled a few hours later, Gipe said due to “another COVID situation.”

Plano will take the 111th edition of the rivalry game as a forfeit win.

This is the second consecutive scheduled meeting of the archrivals canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. The Reapers and Indians were scheduled to meet in April during the COVID-caused spring season, but a positive test on the Plano team caused that game to be wiped out.

The “War on 34″ dates back to 1897, with the Indians leading the all-time rivalry 55-51-4 entering this season. Last year’s cancellation marked the first season that Plano and Sandwich did not meet on the football field since the 1976 and 1977 seasons, when football was dropped at Sandwich due to several failed referendums. The two schools also did not meet from 1936-1939 when Plano had to drop football due to low numbers or numerous injuries, according to the website reapernation.com.

Plano AD Jim Schmidt confirmed on Wednesday morning that the Reapers will take the forfeit win and move on to their Week 4 game with Richmond-Burton. Had Plano chosen to pick up a game, and lost it, it would count as a loss in their record. With the forfeit win, Plano is now 3-0 on the season.

“The IHSA says if you pick up a game, you take the results of the game or if you take a forfeit, you take the forfeit,” Schmidt said. “We’ll take the win and get onto Week 4. All our focus goes onto Richmond-Burton.”

Schmidt did empathize for the varsity players who missed out on playing the biggest game of the season for the second consecutive season.

“I know our kids wanted to play that game so bad,” Schmidt said. “They asked if we could reschedule and I said no. We have a game next Friday bigger than the [Sandwich] game. It is unfortunate. You think about it, we haven’t played in Sandwich since 2017. We were supposed to play there last year, and again this year.”

J.T. Pedelty

J.T. Pedelty

J.T. is a graduate of Streator High School, Illinois Valley Community College and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale who is some 22 years into an award-winning sports journalism career.

Joshua  Welge

Joshua Welge

I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.