HACKENSACK, N.J. — District officials are calling off the City Comets’ 90th Thanksgiving Day Football game against rivals Teaneck after one player tested positive for Covid-19. 

A mutual statement was posted to the district website by Superintendent Robert Sanchez, and Dr. Christopher Irving, chief of Teaneck schools, Monday.

“This week, Hackensack Public Schools was notified that one of their football team players tested positive for Covid-19. Although the annual Thanksgiving game between Hackensack and Teaneck is a long-standing community tradition, Superintendents Sanchez and Irving have decided to cancel this year’s game out of an abundance of caution for all team members and their coaches. The safety of our players, coaches and fans must be out top priority, and we wish the student-athlete a quick recovery.”

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Hackensack Public Schools on October 30 nixed their plans to reopen the district on Nov. 2 for a hybrid learning schedule of in-person and remote learning following the Bergen County Technical Schools’ reopening and closing within a week on the heels of three students and faculty who tested positive for the virus, while another 30 or so were asked to quarantine. While the Hackensack School District decided to cancel all fall sports, the football team wrote impassioned emails to the board of education to save their football season stating that the canceling of the remainder of the season could cost some players scholarships and recognition by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, according to Coach Benjie Wimberly. 

Because of their efforts, the board decided to allow for the continuation of all fall sports. 

Despite their 0-5 record at the time, the Comets were determined to use what Coach Wimberly called “unbelievable energy” to win. On Friday, the Hackensack Comets had their first and final win of the season against Bloomfield in a blowout victory, 33-8.

Coach Wimberly said in an interview last week that the team had planned on winning their 90th Annual tradition against the Teaneck Highwaymen, one of the longest-standing rivalries in the Garden State. The game had been scheduled on the Comets' turf, with in-person spectators limited to two family members per player, and scheduled to be live-streamed to the public on HackensackAthletics.org. 

The Comets beat Teaneck last year 48-6.