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Appalachian State football team has returned to practice

Appalachian State football team has returned to practice

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Campbell Appalachian State football empty stadium

Appalachian State and Campbell played in a virtually empty Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone on Saturday. Both universities have reported recent increases in COVID-19 cases on their campuses.

The Appalachian State football team has returned to practice for the first time in more than two weeks.

An athletics spokesman said the team held practice Wednesday, the first since a spell of COVID-19 cases halted the program.

Joey Jones, App State's senior associate athletics director for strategic communication, wrote in a text that there are no active cases among football student-athletes. He also said this week's round of testing revealed no new positive cases in App State athletics. 

The Mountaineers last played on Sept. 26, a home game against Campbell. Their next game is scheduled for Oct. 22 against Arkansas State in Boone. 

App State football was shut down because of 19 new cases announced on Oct. 1, with those cases and contact tracing leading to the postponement of games against Louisiana (Oct. 7) and Georgia Southern (Oct. 14). Of those cases, 10 were student-athletes.

Against Campbell, App State was missing more than 20 players because of contact tracing. The running backs, wide receivers and tight ends were the position groups affected most in the 52-21 win against the Camels. 

App State is 2-1, the lone loss a 17-7 defeat at Marshall. 

App State has yet to play a conference game. Its conference season now extends well into December, with the Louisiana game moved to either Dec. 4 or 5 and the Georgia Southern game Dec. 12. 

The Sun Belt Conference title game will be played Dec. 19. The Mountaineers have competed in and won the first two installments of the championship, beating Louisiana both times.

According to the university's COVID-19 dashboard, three active COVID-19 clusters remain in App State athletics. They're associated with the football, volleyball and wrestling teams. The site says that there are four active cases currently in the football program, and there's one in the volleyball program.

The wrestling team's cluster is still considered active, but the program hasn't had a positive test in more than three weeks.

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