Tucson High School Sports

Cienega, Empire Going Forward with Football Season Under “Enhanced Mitigation Strategies”

Cienega High School principal Kim Middleton issued a statement today to parents of football players that the school is going forward with a football season after gaining clearance from the Vail School District.

Empire athletic director Shannon Woolridge confirmed to AllSportsTucson.com that the Ravens will also move forward with football under the same “enhanced mitigation strategies” that Middleton outlined in her letter.

Those strategies include:

— Athletes will be bubbled as 100 percent remote learners during the football season.

— Players and coaches will be regularly tested.

— All parents/guardians must sign a waiver for a student-athlete to be part of the football program.

“We will follow our current football schedule and continue to compete against the schools whose districts are able to participate in the season,” Middleton writes. “We have been authorized to begin full-contact practices and Coach (Pat) Nugent will be in touch with families share his start date for those practices.”

Cienega’s first game is scheduled for Oct. 30 at CDO. The Dorados are part of the Amphi School District, which has yet to announce it will proceed with allowing contact and competition for football.

Vail permitting Cienega and Empire to proceed with football comes a day after the Sahuarita Unified School District allowed Walden Grove and Sahuarita to play football. Those schools are to scrimmage this Friday and play their schedule starting Oct. 30.

(Southern Arizona Football graphic)

Nugent postponed practice and all football activities before Thursday’s workout after it was announced Wednesday by the Pima County Health Department that it recommends football and other contact sports not take place unless positive cases for COVID-19 were at 10 or less out of 100,000 people.

The rate in Pima County is at 44 out of 100,000.

The AIA changed its metrics from 10 or less to 75 or less out of 100,000 on Sept. 17. Many high school programs in the Phoenix area and private schools such as Salpointe and Pusch Ridge started their seasons Oct. 2. Buena, which is in the Sierra Vista Unified School District, also started its season Oct. 2.


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.

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