On the third day of practice for the Southern Arizona All-Star Football Showcase on Wednesday night, the players and coaches alike exuded a hopeful sense of relief and gratitude to be out on the football field together doing what they love once again after the pandemic robbed many of them a chance to play a full season last fall.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday at Tucson High. A crowd limit of 2,200 can attend with free tickets at the gate.
Former Arizona football player Glenn Howell, the strength and conditioning coach for the Tucson Sugar Skulls, summed up the sense of appreciation when he addressed the Red and Blue teams before practice.
“This whole week, introduce yourself to somebody you don’t know, alright?” said Howell, the conditioning coach for both teams. “When you’re out and about in the community and you see each other, say ‘Hey man, you played with me in that All-Star game.’ Come up and say hello to them. When you’re at a party somewhere, say hello to them.
“Enjoy yourself, create relationships, and have fun guys, have fun.”
Fun and camaraderie is something that these players have missed for the better part of a year. For CDO defensive tackle Chase Randall, the light at the end of the tunnel has finally become a blinding light of hope.
“We had so much energy in the season and with so many expectations and seeing it end the way it did was really tough, but seeing that we get an extra game to end our high school careers with the best coaches in the city and the best players — it’s something that’s really special, and I’m just really blessed to be a part of it,” said Randall.
The following are some sights and sounds of the third day of practice.
Sunnyside WR/DB Ikaika Piña:
CDO DT Chase Randall:
Buena head coach Joe Thomas:
Desert View head coach Robert Bonillas:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. He has an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Pima Community College where he wrote for the Pima Post (formerly the Aztec Press). He is currently attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.