Washington football team without 30-40 players at Tuesday's practice

The Washington Panthers would love to win a share of the Northern Indiana Conference championship this Friday night when they face undefeated Mishawaka at Steele Stadium.

But Panther head coach Antwon Jones is more concerned with the health of many his players this week.

The Panthers were without 30-40 players Tuesday at practice due to various illnesses that are going around including the flu and swine flu.

Among those out sick at seven starters, including quarterback Nolan Dieter.

Jones said he's had a number of players become sick right in front of him, and he's sent them home to ensure others don't get sick as well.

If Washington wins Friday, they would win a share of the NIC title with Mishawaka and most likely Penn. The Panthers have not win a conference championship since 1975.

If the Cavemen win, Mishawaka takes the NIC title outright.

Jones says the NIC championship is important to Washington, but he'd much rather have them sick this week than next, when the Panthers begin sectional play.

Washington forfeited the freshman football game last week because they did not have enough players due to illness. Jones says that will likely be the case again this week.

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