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High school football: Kearns shutting down for the season because COVID-19, third Utah team to forfeit playoff game

SHARE High school football: Kearns shutting down for the season because COVID-19, third Utah team to forfeit playoff game

Kearns’ Naki Leha (24) carries the ball against Olympus’ Jordan Allred (27) during a high school football game at Kearns High School in Kearns on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

The Kearns High football team is shutting down for the 2020 season, coach Matt Rickards confirmed Thursday afternoon.

Kearns had a third player receive a positive COVID-19 test result Thursday and must now quarantine for 14 days. Kearns was the No. 5 seed for the 6A state playoffs, and had a bye for the first round this Friday. It won’t clear the 14-day quarantine in time for the second round next Friday and must forfeit.

Kearns was slated to play the winner of Friday’s East-Clearfield game in the second round.

Rickards informed his players of the news Thursday.

“Very hard thing to tell these guys,” he said.

Rickards said it was particularly frustrating because the third positive test came back on the same day as one of his players was cleared to return from COVID-19.

“We are always masked. We have done everything they have asked and more,” said Rickards.

Kearns becomes the third Utah football team whose postseason has ended prematurely because of COVID-19. Both Fremont and Uintah announced earlier this week they had to forfeit their first-round games because of COVID-19 cases on the team.

With a surge in cases overall at Kearns High, Granite School District spokesperson Ben Horsley said all in-person learning at the school will cease for 14 days as the school reached 15 positive cases.

As it pertains to football, here is the statement Granite School District sent to parents and staff.

“We have worked closely with the Health Department to scrutinize the case information and can confirm at this time that our football team now has 3-confirmed cases within that 14-day window. In addition to the school wide dismissal, we have received the recommendation to dismiss the football team for this same time period. We have agonized over the fact that this dismissal will effectively end the football team’s season. We acknowledge the great success they have experienced this season. We sincerely regret this is the case but readily acknowledge that the safety for our students and employees will continue to be paramount above all else.”

Here is the full text of that statement.