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Sahuarita Unified School District moves forward with football: Sahuarita and Walden Grove to scrimmage next Friday

Andy Morales & Javier Morales

Walden Grove High School posted a letter on its Facebook page addressing plans to move to Phase IV for football despite the recent memo sent to the surrounding school districts by the Pima County Health Department recommending no athletic activities that involved contact.

Sahuarita High School has joined Walden Grove advancing to Phase IV.

The memo posted by Walden Grove on Facebook was in direct opposition to the change in metrics by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) dated Sept. 17.

LINK: AIA METRIC CHANGE SEPT 17

LINK: CIENEGA POSTPONES PRACTICE IN RESPONSE TO MEMO

“I’m proud of our leaders who’ve worked tirelessly to do what is right for our young men! They made the right decision in the right way,” Walden Grove head coach Corey Noble said to AllSportsTucson. “It wasn’t the easy choice and it wasn’t arrived at lightly amid the unknown and constantly changing nature of the pandemic. I’m proud of our great young men who, along with our amazing coaches, have done an outstanding job of committing to and buying in to the protocols and procedures that have been put in place to get us to this point. I’m so thrilled that we are gonna have an opportunity to play the game we love and have worked to play and I can only hope other districts will follow suit.”

Dr. Theresa Cullen, the director of the Pima County Health Department, issued a statement today in regard to the minimal community spread standards that differs from the AIA benchmark and pointed out that her department does not decide on the fate of high school competition.

LINK: PIMA COUNTY STATEMENT

“The decisions to return to instruction or to resume athletic activities are appropriately and ultimately made by school boards and superintendents for each district,” she writes in a statement clarifying what was submitted in a letter to the AIA. “We will continue to support districts as they make those decisions and continue to provide guidance as requested.”

The PCHD is recommending that school districts adhere to the metric of 10 or less cases out of 100,000 people as established by the Arizona Department of Health Services to deem it safe for contact sports such as football to take place.

The AIA changed its metrics on Sept. 17 from the 10 or less mark to 75 or less out of 100,000 people. That change provided the opportunity for physical contact and competition for high school football in the state. Pima County is presently at 44 people out of 100,000 testing positive for COVID-19.

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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and was given the Amphi Distinguished Service Award. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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