The Amphi and Tanque Verde school districts determined tonight to move forward with contact drills and a football season starting Oct. 30 and Nov. 6.
Amphi, Canyon del Oro and Ironwood Ridge of the Amphi School District and Tanque Verde will finally get to play their seasons after more than two months of workouts without pads because of COVID-19.
Tanque Verde will play under former Sahuaro and Arizona standout Jay Dobyns, who is in his first year as a head coach.
“The Tanque Verde School Board and Superintendent (Scott Hagerman) have committed to our football team by moving forward with our season under very strict virus protocols,” Dobyns said. “We are preparing for our first game and are excited to host Rincon on Nov. 6. Our players and staff have faced every challenge. They have overcome every obstacle.
“We are grateful for the opportunity and hopeful that all our Tucson teams are allowed to play football games this fall.”
Rincon/University, which Dobyns mentioned, and the other TUSD schools have yet to be cleared to play. TUSD, Catalina Foothills and Sunnyside are the remaining Southern Arizona public school districts with a decision to make. Each reportedly will decide the fate of football in their board meetings Tuesday.
Tanque Verde and the Amphi School District programs join those in the Vail School District (Cienega and Empire), Sahuarita School District (Sahuarita and Walden Grove), Marana School District (Marana and Mountain View) and Douglas, Nogales, Rio Rico and Flowing Wells with the decision to play football.
“Being able to finally play is something that has been earned by this community,” CDO coach Dustin Peace said. “I believe we all have been safe. The kids have tried really hard to stay safe. The players and coaches have been going through a huge sacrifice to make it work.”
The Dorados, with senior running back Stevie Rocker Jr., a Class of 2021 Arizona commit, are tentatively scheduled to scrimmage against Amphi on Saturday night. That has yet to be determined.
Peace did say that CDO will open at home against Cienega on Oct. 30. The game will pit former Dorados coach Pat Nugent against Peace, his former player and assistant at CDO.
It was speculated locally that Cienega might open against Salpointe on Oct. 30 because the Lancers’ game at Marana on that day was canceled. The Tigers need two weeks of contact drills before opening their season. Marana will open at rival Mountain View on Nov. 6.
With Amphi giving the approval to play football, the Cienega-CDO game is on.
“Me and Nugent plan on playing each other, so it should be a go,” said Peace, who added that Nugent wanted to give CDO until Friday the chance to keep the matchup next week.
Peace is aware that a situation may occur in which a team might have to quarantine for 14 days if a player tests positive for COVID-19, which recently happened to Salpointe. The Lancers had their game against Buena pushed back from Oct. 9 to this Friday and their game at Phoenix Pinnacle canceled last Friday.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed and do everything we can,” Peace said. “The kids have this opportunity to prove to everybody that they’re gonna have to sacrifice in every little way that they can to keep themselves safe and play the game that they love.”
Salpointe and Pusch Ridge, both private schools, and Buena (of the Sierra Vista School District) started their seasons Oct. 2.
Here are the proposed tentative schedules for each Southern Arizona school starting Oct. 30 with notes (italicized schools have yet to announce they are going forward with contact drills and competition):
- Sahuarita at Amphi
- Buena at Casa Grande
- Cienega at CDO
- Douglas at Walden Grove
- Empire at Rio Rico
- Pusch Ridge at San Tan Foothills
- Amphi at Douglas
- CDO at Desert View
- Catalina Foothills at Ironwood Ridge
- Palo Verde at Catalina
- Cholla at Tucson … Virgil Henderson returns to Cholla sideline as coach
- Nogales at Cienega
- Empire at Pueblo … Jake Allen makes his debut as Pueblo’s coach
- Flowing Wells at Sunnyside
- Marana at Mountain View … The Battle of the Boot Rivalry
- Rincon/University at Tanque Verde … The start of the Jay Dobyns era as head coach at Tanque Verde and Khyree Copeland at R/U
- Rio Rico at Santa Rita
- Sabino at Sahuarita
- Sahuaro at Walden Grove
- Mountain Ridge at Salpointe
- ALA-Ironwood at Pusch Ridge
- Flowing Wells at Amphi
- Cienega at Buena … Much-anticipated game of two local powers
- Ironwood Ridge at CDO … Amphi School District rivals face off
- Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills
- Catalina at Rincon/University
- Pueblo at Cholla
- Desert View at Sunnyside … Duel of the District
- Douglas at Rio Rico
- Tanque Verde at Empire
- Marana at Walden Grove
- Salpointe at Mountain View
- Nogales at Tucson
- Santa Rita at Palo Verde
- Sahuaro at Sabino … Intense eastside rivalry
- Florence at Pusch Ridge
- Rincon/University at Amphi
- CDO at Catalina Foothills
- Tanque Verde at Catalina
- Cholla at Santa Rita
- Marana at Cienega
- Ironwood Ridge at Desert View
- Sahuarita at Douglas
- Sabino at Empire
- Palo Verde at Flowing Wells
- Sahuaro at Mountain View
- Rio Rico at Nogales … Rivalry near the border
- Sunnyside at Tucson
- Walden Grove at Pueblo
- Salpointe at Desert Mountain
- Empire at Amphi
- CDO at Marana
- Cholla at Catalina Foothills
- Catalina at Pueblo
- Cienega at Sunnyside
- Mountain View at Desert View
- Douglas at Nogales
- Rio Rico at Flowing Wells
- Ironwood Ridge at Rincon/University
- Palo Verde at Tanque Verde
- Walden Grove at Sabino … WG’s strong defense vs. Sabino’s potent offense
- Tucson at Sahuaro
- Santa Rita at Sahuarita
- Amphi at Catalina
- CDO at Sahuaro
- Sabino at Catalina Foothills
- Desert View at Cholla
- Mountain View at Cienega
- Empire at Douglas
- Flowing Wells at Ironwood Ridge
- Sunnyside at Marana
- Nogales at Walden Grove
- Pueblo at Palo Verde
- Tucson at Rincon/University
- Rio Rico at Sahuarita
- Tanque Verde at Santa Rita
- Amphi at Rio Rico
- Walden Grove at CDO
- Catalina Foothills at Palo Verde
- Santa Rita at Catalina
- Ironwood Ridge at Cienega
- Marana at Desert View
- Sahuarita at Empire
- Rincon/University at Flowing Wells
- Tucson at Mountain View
- Pueblo at Sabino
- Sahuaro at Sunnyside
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.