HAVERHILL — First, the threat of the EEE virus was getting in the way of Haverhill High football games.
Now, SAT testing is forcing further juggling of the Hillie gridiron schedule, but officials said this weekend’s game will be played — despite mosquitoes and hours of tests for college-bound students.
Due to the threat of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Haverhill postponed Friday night’s football game, originally scheduled under the lights at Trinity Stadium, to Saturday afternoon.
The Hillie-Chelmsford game will be at 3:30 p.m. Haverhill High Athletic Director Tom O’Brien said Saturday games are usually held at 1 p.m., but there will be a delay because SAT testing is taking place that morning.
“Normally we’d start a Saturday game at 1, but the tests don’t get out until 1, so we need to give Chelmsford more time to get here,” O’Brien said. “With 60 student athletes on our varsity team, it affects a lot of our families and those in Chelmsford, where football is huge and they tend to follow their team around.’’
Haverhill High’s fan following is also strong this year due to the team’s early-season success. The Hillies have three wins and one loss, following several losing seasons.
As of Sept. 21, Haverhill cancelled all outdoor public recreational activities on city property between dusk and dawn after state health officials notified the city’s Board of Health that Amesbury, Merrimac and Haverhill were all raised to a critical risk level for EEE. Officials said the risk from mosquitoes carrying the disease is especially high between dusk and dawn. EEE can cause a serious and sometimes-fatal brain infection.
Mayor James Fiorentini said that after conferring with Health Board Chairman Dr. Carl Rosenbloom, as well as school and Recreation Department officials, the city decided to postpone and reschedule activities until the first hard frost hits.