Bullard cancels football scrimmage with Buchanan because of COVID

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Positive coronavirus tests forced the cancellation of Thursday's scheduled football scrimmage between Bullard and Buchanan High Schools.

Almost 19 months have passed since last we saw Bullard vs. Buchanan on the football field.

The matchup will have to wait a while longer.

Fresno Unified administrators confirm Bullard canceled a scrimmage scheduled for Thursday because of five positive COVID-19 tests associated with the team.

"To think that wouldn't happen at the high school level would probably be a little naive," said California Interscholastic Federation commission Ryan Tos. "At the same time, it's frustrating because these student athletes have waited so long to get back on the field of play."

Players lost their fall season because of COVID restrictions, but the California Department of Public Health agreed to allow outdoor sports starting Feb. 26 under strict guidelines.

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Players and coaches must be tested every week until the county gets into the red tier when the testing is strongly encouraged but not mandated.

Both Fresno Unified and CIF's Tos say the cancellation shows their protocols are working and hopefully preventing bigger problems.

"There was obviously the rallying cry of 'Let them play' and that was a very positive, well-meaning group," Tos said. "On the CIF side, our rallying cry was more 'Let us try.' You know, let us try to come back and play and do things safely."

Tos says teams might need to be flexible with their schedules and ready to change opponents quickly.

RELATED: Fresno Unified students from all grades who want in-person learning to return by April 13

A Fresno Unified spokesperson tells Action News administrators wants students to have the benefits of athletics, so they brought back some outdoor sports with strict guidelines, including the weekly testing.

One of Bullard's positive cases was identified after developing symptoms. The school identified the other four infections through surveillance testing.

They started contact tracing and updated the county health department, which will guide them in the next steps to take.

"I do hope the teams are able to compete even if they're down a few players moving forward," said Tos.

For now, both teams are scheduled to play their season openers March 19.

Buchanan plays Clovis West at Lamonica Stadium.

Bullard would play Hoover at McLane.
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