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Saturday’s Navy at East Carolina football game a go

Slotback C.J. Williams races toward the end zone en route to scoring a touchdown against East Carolina last season. Saturday's game between the Midshipmen and Pirates has been green-lighted by the American Athletic Conference. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Slotback C.J. Williams races toward the end zone en route to scoring a touchdown against East Carolina last season. Saturday's game between the Midshipmen and Pirates has been green-lighted by the American Athletic Conference. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) (Patrick Smith/Getty)

The Navy at East Carolina football game, slated for a noon kickoff Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, will be held as scheduled.

That decision comes two days after East Carolina coach Mike Houston announced his team was “dealing with some issues” related to coronavirus testing. It is believed the Pirates will be without an unspecified number of players for Saturday’s game due to positive results based off testing conducted Monday.

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Houston would not name specific players that were affected by positive tests and contact tracing.

“Not really going to discuss or get into who’s available or who’s not available right now. We have had to make some adjustments, but those adjustments have been made and are going to continue to be made,” the second-year coach said.

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“We won’t have a true picture until the end of the week of what our roster is going to look like," Houston added.

East Carolina conducted another round of testing Wednesday and all results were negative, Houston said. The Pirates were due to be administered rapid response antigen tests Friday morning before a final decision was made by the American Athletic Conference.

“Very encouraged by Wednesday’s test,” Houston told the media after Thursday’s practice. “No positives, so everybody that tested Wednesday was negative. That’s promising. We’ve got one more round of testing tomorrow morning before everyone makes the decision. But right now, I would anticipate us being locked in and ready to go at 12 o’clock on Saturday.”

Friday, members of the Navy football program were also tested Monday and Wednesday with no positives, a source told The Capital. Members of the Navy traveling party were also administered the antigen test Friday, which has a slightly lower accuracy rate than the RT-PCR molecular tests that are conducted Monday and Wednesday of each week.

Medical professionals representing both Navy and East Carolina participated in a conference call with Dr. Greg Stewart, director of sports medicine at Tulane University and chairman of the American Athletic Conference COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group.

Sources told The Capital that Navy would not have boarded buses for transport to Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport without receiving approval from the AAC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group.

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