North Marion quarterback Brody Hall runs upfield during the Huskies’ game at Frankfort earlier this season.

FAIRMONT — For the first time since 2001, North Marion is moving on in the state football playoffs...and it didn’t even require the Huskies to take the field.

North Marion, which was scheduled to play in the first round of the Class AA playoffs this weekend, has officially advanced to the Class AA state quarterfinals due to forfeit, according to the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission.

The No. 10-seeded Huskies were originally scheduled to play at No. 7 Keyser in the Class AA first round this Sunday, but that game has now been cancelled due to the number of COVID-19 cases currently within Mineral County, which is home to the Golden Tornado. The cancellation of the game, which was announced Thursday afternoon by Mineral County Superintendent of Schools Troy Ravenscroft, officially ends Keyser’s season and sends North Marion into next week’s Class AA state quarterfinals by forfeit.

North Marion will now await the winner of Friday night’s first round game between No. 2 Bluefield and No. 15 Clay County in the state quarterfinal round.

The decision by Ravenscroft and the Mineral County school system to shut down all sports for this weekend officially ends the season of Class AA No. 3 seed Frankfort as well as No. 7 seed Keyser.

Frankfort’s first round opponent in No. 14 seed Independence thus has also automatically advanced to the Class AA state quarterfinals due to forfeit. The Patriots will now travel to the winner of Friday night’s first round game between No. 6 Fairmont Senior and No. 11 Braxton County for the quarterfinals next weekend.

The No. 10 North Marion at No. 7 Keyser and No. 14 Independence at No. 3 Frankfort first round games were originally tentatively scheduled for this Sunday, as were many other first round playoff games across the state, pending Mineral County being labeled either green, yellow or gold on Saturday night’s statewide COVID-19 metrics map. But due to the current COVID-19 infection rate within Mineral County, Ravenscroft and Mineral County schools made the decision to prematurely cancel all school and extracurricular activities this weekend through next week.

Mineral County was labeled red on this past Saturday’s education metrics map and was labeled orange on Wednesday’s DHHR map.

“Regardless of the color of way we may be on the DHHR Map/WVDE Daily or Saturday Map, our 7-day infection rate continues to be nearly 4 times the standard for Red and our percent positive is more than double the state average,” read a statement from Ravenscroft posted to Twitter.

“We do not feel the need to delay this announcement until Saturday evening. We will share more this weekend regarding specific details for next week.

“Please help slow community spread by following public health guidelines and avoiding the 3 C’s: crowded places, close contact settings, and confined spaces.”

The win for North Marion via the forfeit by Keyser is the Huskies’ first playoff victory since 2001, when they defeated George Washington 26-6 at Husky Stadium in Rachel in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs. The forfeit victory for North Marion also represents the program’s first postseason victory during the 12-year tenure of head coach Daran Hays.

As of now, all other state playoff games will be played as scheduled, with each of Sunday’s scheduled games dependent on Saturday’s statewide COVID-19 metrics map.

Email Bradley Heltzel at bheltzel@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @bradheltzTWV.

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