MENIFEE, Calif. (KABC) -- Football players at Mt. San Jacinto College have been sidelined by COVID-19 just as they were preparing to take on rival Riverside Community College.
"We haven't played them in the 20 years I have been here," Patrick Springer, the school's dean of kinesiology and athletics, said Friday. "So, they are highly ranked, it is a geographical rival and we are very disappointed we can't play them tomorrow and then obviously next week versus Moore Park."
Springer said the team and football staff were quarantining after several tests came back positive prior to the first scheduled home game.
"We had five positive cases, and then late last night about 10:30 p.m. we got two more additional cases," he said.
The team has followed COVID-19 prevention protocols put forth by the California Community College Athletics Association. Student-athletes are required to undergo weekly testing for the virus and within 72 hours of a game.
"Our students fill out a Qualtric form, which is a tracking form every day they come on campus. They have to wear masks indoors and with the weekly testing," said Springer. "I think its kind of a nuisance but we understand it is very necessary. We are taking every precaution and take it very seriously."
Mt. San Jacinto College isn't the only school that's had to postpone or cancel a game. In the Inland Empire, the first week of high school football season took a hit with three high schools canceling games due to COVID-19.
"I just hope everybody learns from our guys and takes every precaution and understands that every exposure could be the one that could get them sick," said Springer
The Mt. San Jacinto College football team hopes to be back on the gridiron after Sept.12, and with any luck reschedule that long-awaited rivalry game against Riverside.