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High school football: Granite School District approves plan for Kearns to participate in 6A playoffs with negative COVID-19 tests

SHARE High school football: Granite School District approves plan for Kearns to participate in 6A playoffs with negative COVID-19 tests

Olympus takes on Kearns at Kearns High School in Kearns on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Kearns will get a chance to play playoff football after all.

A day after announcing that his team had to forfeit its second-round playoff game next week because of a third positive COVID-19 test within the group, Kearns coach Matt Rickards confirmed with the Deseret News on Friday that a plan is in place for his team to play next Friday.

The Granite School District approved a plan in which Kearns players will all have a COVID-19 test on Saturday. Those who test negative can practice next week.

Rapid COVID-19 tests will be administered next Friday to all players and coaches before the Cougars’ 6A second-round game against East, and those who test negative will be allowed to participate.

East beat Clearfield 69-20 in the 6A first round on Friday to advance to the second round against Kearns, if all goes well with its testing.

“Went from a major low to feeling blessed and thankful that we get this opportunity. I know a lot of people worked hard to make this happen, and really appreciate it for our kids to finish their season. I know some are not as fortunate due to the timing. We are lucky we had a bye this week,” said Rickards.

The Granite School District said it collaborated with the Salt Lake County Health Department to make it possible and issued the following statement.

“In conjunction with the Salt Lake County Health Department, we are very pleased to announce that the Kearns High football team will be able to continue its quest for a championship through a new COVID testing protocol. This would not be possible without the support from Salt Lake County Health Department. We appreciate their dedication to our students’ health and safety. We are very excited that our students will be able to play and do so safely. Go Cougars.”

Kearns standout Jeff Bassa, who committed to the Oregon Ducks earlier this month, said he’s thrilled an avenue has been opened to continue his senior season for at least one more game.

“I feel happy and good about being given the chance to play again. We’ve been preparing and then that news popping up and hearing the news sucks, but then getting the green light to be able to play again feels great,” said Bassa.

Kearns finished the regular season with an 8-1 record and earned the No. 5 RPI seed in the 6A state tournament. Its lone loss came in Week 9 against West, 26-17.

“It feels great being able to continue to play out this season,” said Kearns receiver Jack Kelly. “This is the last time we’ll be able to be play with some of our friends, so if feels great getting this last chance to play with my brothers.”