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Herriman To Host Nation’s First High School Football Game

HERRIMAN, Utah – The eyes of the high school sports world will be on Herriman High School Thursday with the Mustangs set to host the country’s first high school game of the season.

And principal Todd Quarenberg admitted he’s nervous.

“If I could give a one-word descriptor, it would be anxiety,” Quarnberg said.

Any sports season comes with unknowns and every game has its risks. But Quarnberg knows there is much more on the line this time at Herriman High.

“It’s going to be different,” he said. “The eyes of the nation are here watching us.”

Thursday’s kickoff against Davis High will be the first high school game in the country, and players can’t wait to get on the field.

“It’s been up and down and we’ve been praying for a season, and it’s here,” said junior Dominic Martucci, a defensive back on Mustangs’ varsity team. “We’re all concerned and everything. We got our masks up. But at the end of the day, we all just want to be on that field.”

“I want those boys on the field because I love them,” Quarnberg said. “And it scares the hell out of me that something might happen.”

The field is prepped. The scoreboard is set. But the most important boundaries tomorrow will be off the field.

“I think it’s important to tell the community what’s on the line here,” he said. “We will follow the rules.”

The stadium that can hold 4,000 people will be at 25% capacity, allowing for roughly 200 spectators from Davis High and 700 for the home team. Quarnberg said each ticket will include an agreement to follow the rules, which include wearing a mask.

Each section of stands at Herriman High has been designated with a letter to keep crowds separate and allow for contact tracing should a positive COVID-19 case emerge.

The stands are also sectioned off by letter to keep people separate, but also, in the event of a positive coronavirus case, to make contact tracing possible.

“Have we prepared enough for that? I think we have,” Quarnberg said. “Is it worth it? It’s worth it to the kids on the field. It’s worth it to the kids watching.”

Underlining the concern heading into the game is the fact that Bingham High decided it would be best to pull out of its Friday game after three players tested positive for COVID-19.

This season, Quarnberg’s anxiety goes well beyond beating the opponent. This season it’s also about beating the virus.

“I would give anything to go back to the traditional ways we thought about football,” he said. “This is going to be a test.”

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