With no game scheduled for Friday, and a week off likely until traveling to Buena Nov. 13, Cienega was business as usual at practice tonight.
Players were spirited after a teammate made a big play. Coaches were shouting assignments.
After the practice, all of the Bobcats surrounded prolific senior running back Gabe Levy in celebration after he was selected the AllSportsTucson.com’s APS Digital/Frog & Firkin Player of the Week.
Levy’s 208 yards rushing with two touchdowns in last week’s 28-14 win at CDO earned him the honor.
He also will receive an Ed Doherty Award Nomination Medallion for his performance, which means he will be invited to attend the Ed Doherty Award Luncheon on Jan. 9 in Phoenix, where one athlete will become the recipient of the Ed Doherty Award for the state’s top player.
“The (offensive line) works their butts off and it allowed me to run for more than 200 yards,” Levy said after rattling off the names of linemen Hunter Schlagel, Andrew Husfelt, Caleb Clarke, Garrett Montgomery and Joseph Rubio.
To the credit of Cienega coach Pat Nugent and his staff, the Bobcats still exuded energy at tonight’s practice in this rollercoaster of a season impacted by COVID-19 delays and cancelations.
“The problem is you don’t know what next week looks like,” said Nugent, whose team was originally was scheduled to host Nogales on Friday for Senior Night.
The Apaches were forced to cancel last week’s game against Sahuarita and this week’s game because a player tested positive for COVID-19.
When the Sabino-Sahuarita game this Friday was canceled because of a positive case at Sahuarita, Cienega had a possible opponent in the Sabercats. But that has not materialized.
Nugent mentioned the hope is bleak for a game in two days, unless another cancelation occurs tomorrow and a team becomes available. He said the most likely scenario is next playing at Buena on Nov. 13. Senior Night would instead be held Nov. 20 when the Bobcats host Marana.
“Nobody knows what tomorrow looks like right now in our day and age,” Nugent said. “The most important thing is getting the kids out on the field.”
Cienega was originally scheduled to play seven games. If a miracle matchup does not occur Friday, the Bobcats can still play that amount by scheduling a game on the weekend of Dec. 18-19.
A goal of Levy’s is to reach 1,000 yards rushing after coming very close to that mark last season. He finished with 982 yards on 145 carries and was hampered by an injured ankle late in the season.
He still has a chance for 1,000 yards but the odds will become longer if Cienega does not play Friday.
“It sucks but it allows me to have a week off to recuperate,” Levy said about the possibility of not playing a game this week. “It will get my body right so next week I’m able to do big things and be able to keep myself on pace for 1,000 yards this season.”
In addition to football, Levy can do “big things” on the wrestling mat for the Bobcats in that upcoming season.
He is now up to 200 pounds (height of 6-foot) after finishing runner-up last season at 170 pounds in the state tournament.
Levy mentioned that he gets his tough, physical style of running between the tackles from his wrestling background.
“Just being able to have balance, not be taken down and stay up I think it comes from wrestling and also watching some of the bigger guys Derek Henry run the ball, just not being able to be taken down by a single person,” Levy said.
“It’s on my mind (to wrestle). Really depends on how football season goes. If I wrestle I will shoot for a state championship, whatever weight class I go into.”
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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.