The Horizon High School football team has been forced to cancel its next two upcoming games after a new positive case of COVID-19 in the program was confirmed Sunday.
According to Horizon coach Ty Wisdom, a player began exhibiting symptoms of the virus late Saturday morning. Based on his symptoms, Wisdom immediately instructed a group of 12 players to quarantine. The player’s test came back positive Sunday.
“That left us with about 14 players who aren’t quarantined at this time,” Wisdom said. “I called coach (Jason) Mohns Saturday and told him we likely wouldn’t be able to play our game. I wanted to give him a heads up and six days to find another game.”
Horizon was already down a large majority of its team Friday night when the Huskies faced Gilbert. Just under 30 players dressed to play after the junior varsity and other close contacts at the varsity level were instructed to quarantine after a positive test came back Thursday, which resulted in a last-minute cancellation of the junior varsity contest with Gilbert.
Wisdom said three varsity players were injured against the Tigers’ varsity team, with another 10 now in quarantine after the latest positive test. He said as a result, Horizon’s games against Saguaro on Friday, Oct. 30, and Maricopa on Nov. 6 have been canceled.
“One group won’t come out of quarantine until Wednesday, Nov. 4 and the other Nov. 7,” Wisdom said. “As a result, we canceled both of our upcoming games and hope to be able to play Campo Verde and Notre Dame in the last two weeks of the season.”
Gilbert Public Schools said in a statement Sunday it had not been contacted by Horizon about any additional cases and cleared Gilbert for its upcoming contest with Mesquite.
However, it was revealed Monday morning Wisdom and Horizon’s administration contacted Gilbert later on Sunday afternoon, providing the player’s number and position so the school could begin contact tracing.
Gilbert Public Schools confirmed it had heard from Horizon after its initial statement on Monday. The district also said it worked with county health officials to determine any potential close contacts within Gilbert's program to the new positive case on Horizon's team. Dawn Antestenis, the district's Director of Marketing and Communications, said in an email Gilbert has been cleared to play its game against Mesquite Friday.
"In all instances when we are notified of a positive player on another team following a game, we are adhering to both Maricopa County and AIA guidelines to identify any of our players that may have been in close contact with that player during the game," Antestenis wrote. "Close contact is identified by Maricopa County as within six feet for ten minutes or longer.
"With regard to Gilbert High, this investigation has been completed and at this time the team is in a position to move forward with the game against Mesquite High on Friday."
Horizon becomes the latest football program to shut down for two weeks due to positive cases.
Chaparral was forced to cancel its first three games of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season due to two positive cases in the program earlier this month. Desert Ridge canceled its contest against Red Mountain this past Friday and against Basha this week due to cases.
Earlier in the season, both Arete Prep and Gilbert Christian canceled a game due to a positive case. Cactus Shadows in Surprise and a slew of other West Valley schools have also canceled games as of late.
Both Saguaro and Maricopa have begun reaching out to schools to replace Horizon.