HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – In front of 900 spectators, Herriman High’s number 24 Nu’u Tafisi scored the nation’s first high school touchdown of 2020. The Mustangs lost the home game to the Davis High School Darts 24-20.
Though the national spotlight was on what took place on the field, the game itself became bigger than folks initially imagined.
“It’s been a long time since we have been together, and you’ve got kids out there who are looking for anything or hearing anything about the school that is normal,” said Herriman High’s Todd Quarnburg.
He says there was a lot of prepping to get Thursday’s game underway. Athletes and coaches went through temperature checks, symptoms were monitored and documented every day.
“They are coming to play. I want to give them that opportunity,” he said. “All Herriman High School kids, rather the football fans or not are watching this night on national TV, and looking for something they see that is normal.”
For Danny Soulier, it’s seeing his daughter cheerleading one more time.
“I think it was really important for her mental state. When she was in quarantine like she lost it. She was not acting like she normally was and had a hard time with it,” he said. “Cheering and seeing her friends is really healthy for her.”
Wearing number six was Alicia Koos’s son Braden. She didn’t think she’d be able to see her son play his senior year.
“Now to have this moment where we really don’t know if we are going to have a season or not is just, it is so amazing,” she said. “I feel like [the school district] have done an amazing job of doing the best that they can do to get these kids back to school, back out on the football field, get the cheerleaders back.”
With 700 home fans and 200 coming from Davis County, the fear of spreading COVID-19 lingered.
“Am I concerned about COVID? I think the answer is yeah I’m concerned. Do I think it is real? Yeah, it is real. Are there risks tonight? There are risks,” said Principal Quarnburg. “The variables out there tonight, they are different than any other football night, The unknown, I’m never going to be relaxed.”
Tickets to Thursday’s sold-out game were pre-sold. Everyone who got one was assigned a seat in the bleachers.
The principal added, “If somebody turns positive tomorrow, I know who is sitting in that section, then we can start calling and working with the state health department to call the souls who would have been in that area.”
“If there is an exposure, it assists us in contact tracing and notifying everyone who needs to be notified that they need to watch for symptoms,” said Salt Lake County Health Department Spokesperson Nicholas Rupp.
The county health department has two letters for parents if there is an exposure to the virus at a game or during school.
“We have a letter for people who need to be quarantined because they have defiantly been in contact with an infected individual, and then we have a later for people just to let them know there was a case in this environment, in this school, in this classroom so parents are aware, but their student wasn’t identified as actually exposed.”
Herriman High held faculty meeting at 7 a.m Friday to go over the pros and cons of the football game and plan for the start of school on August 24.