CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) – The 2021 football season for a high school in east Chula Vista ended earlier than expected.
Jimmy Clark, the head varsity football coach of Olympian High School, tweeted that the team’s season was over “due to COVID protocols.”
Clark’s complete tweet on Tuesday read: “Olympian’s Season is over due to COVID protocols. Good luck the rest of the way everyone! Cherish everyday we get to play because it can snatched at any moment in these times.”
The protocols the coach referred to include faculty and student screening and testing for coronavirus, as well as isolation based on CDC guidance in the event of a positive test.
On Wednesday, Clark told ABC 10News, "We had X amount of COVID positive tests in our football program. I wasn't given the exact number. But, I just know that the threshold was met for it to be considered an outbreak. So, with that being said, they had to shut us down these last two weeks."
With just two games left, Clark had to break the news to his squad and took the news to social media. All the while, he felt for one particular group of players.
"The first thing that I thought about was the seniors. This was going to be their last opportunity for most of them to put pads on and play this game of football,” Clark said.
Olympian High’s squad finished their season with an 0-7 record, with the team’s last game a 24-7 loss against Hilltop High on Oct. 15.
Despite not recording a win this year, a foundation and a culture were being built during in Clark’s first season as head coach.
"That's what we were really striving for in year one and I think we've done this. And it would've been nice to have those last two games to be able to build that with these young guys,” Clark said.
ABC 10News reached out to the Sweetwater Union High School District regarding this situation, and a district official said:
“With the spread of COVID-19, our top priority is the health and safety of our students, employees, and community. Our free weekly testing program for student athletes is consistent with guidance from the CDC and CDPH. We are monitoring athletic protocols to continue offering activities to the level we have."
Clark told ABC 10News that it's unfortunate that the season ended too soon, but he said he’s taking this as a chance to grow with his players.
"And we're going to start our offseason weightlifting program a little early now, actually. If anything, this gives us a jump on next season. I'm spinning it in a positive light,” Clark said.
Clark said the team had to bring up JV players after 13 varsity players were out due COVID protocols for their game two weeks ago.