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Apr. 6—Although the University of New Hampshire hasn’t played a football game since March 5, the Wildcats will try again this weekend.

UNH’s last three games — Delaware, at Villanova and at Rhode Island — were all postponed because of COVID-19 protocols within the UNH program, but UNH coach Sean McDonnell said he’s hopeful the Wildcats can take the field for Saturday’s home game against Stony Brook (noon).

UNH was practicing Friday in preparation for last Saturday’s game at Rhode Island when McDonnell received news that his team would not make that road trip.

“We knew there were a number tests that had come back that had to be checked again and we were hoping that some of the testing would give us some good news,” McDonnell said. “Got the text, got the call. I knew walking into the fieldhouse what was going to happen.

“I can’t tell you how good we felt walking off the field Thursday night. To have it right there and then taken away … I’m telling you that was tough. This hasn’t been fun. This has not been fun.

“We have to figure out what’s going to happen this week and hopefully we get the opportunity to do what we love to do, and that’s play against Stony Brook.”

The Wildcats have not practiced since Friday’s abbreviated workout, but could return to practice today if Monday’s test results allow it.

UNH hasn’t played since opening its season with a 24-20 loss to Albany on March 5. The Wildcats had a bye the following week, and then had their next three games called off.

After Saturday’s matchup with Stony Brook, UNH has one game remaining on its spring schedule: April 17 at Maine. McDonnell said UNH will not opt out of the rest of the spring season.

“There’s always people talking about what ifs,” he said. “The what ifs stop at this office. We signed up in October and November and early January to do what we thought was the right thing — play a football season. As I told my coaches and as I told my kids, we’re going to go forward with what we have, who we have and how we have it. That’s what our plan is and that’s what our plan always will be. It’s not in my DNA, it’s not in this program’s DNA to think any way different.”

Villanova’s victory over Maine was the only Colonial Athletic Association game played last weekend. In addition to the UNH/URI matchup, the James Madison at Richmond and William & Mary at Elon games were postponed. Albany opted out of the spring season after four games for non-COVID reasons (injuries).

McDonnell said a percentage of the team’s roster must be cleared to play for UNH to take part in a game.

“A certain percentage between isolation and between quarantine,” he said. “So kids that have tested positive have been in contact tracing. A combination of both those, one or the other, at a certain number. That’s the decision we made going forward at UNH. How we were going to test — and not just football, but every sport.

“We were dialed in to go (last Friday) and then to have it hit … that’s a roller coaster ride that I don’t like to be on, haven’t been on and never want to be on again.”

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