2023 High School Football

Storm damages new Marana football field

Marana football field. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

Imagine a microburst lasting 45 minutes or so with sustained wind gusts over 60 miles an hour with hail and driving rain. That’s what the area surrounding Marana High School experienced Thursday from about 3:10 p.m. to about 4 p.m. Student dismissal is already a very tricky and difficult maneuver as it is but imagine trying to get over 2,000 students off campus in the middle of a severe thunderstorm.

While driving west on Twin Peaks Road near the pumping plant at about 3:15 p.m., I noticed the rain started getting thicker and the winds started to shake my truck. I looked over to my left and a power pole had tilted towards the road. There was still some blue in the sky and I wasn’t too worried about it but then another pole fell over and then another and the sky went dark grey.

At some point, the power lines cross over Twin Peaks and that’s when the power lines fell just inches over my truck and hit the pavement behind me, in traffic. I had missed damage by seconds. I figured those cars behind me were probably stuck there for hours. I continued to Marana High School and I slowly made my way to the parking lot, past all the stop signs that had blown over on Sandario and Emigh Road. I found a spot and waited for about 15 minutes, not knowing of any damage in the area.

I started walking through the lake in the parking lot as the rain calmed a bit towards the front office and I realized all the power was out. There were several large trees blocking Emigh in front of the school and traffic came to a stop. I immediately helped law enforcement and the ground crew remove trees from the parking lot and the main road. Then, I decided to walk to the football field, which was being refurbished with a new artificial turf to replace the one put in in 2013. Disaster.

I’m told the new field was almost done with most of the turf put in before the storm. Now, it’s a lake with the turf rolled off, trailers flipped over and the padding all over the stands and the surrounding area. Marana’s first home game is scheduled for Sept. 1 against Tucson. The first flag football game is slated for Sept. 5. I’m not sure if there’s time.

Meanwhile, Mountain View is also getting a new turf field to replace the one also constructed in 2013. That field did not get hit by the storm that was limited to the west side of I-10 but the same crew is charged with fixing both fields according to sources. The first home flag football game is slated for Aug. 31 (against Marana) and the first tackle football home game is Sept. 1. I’m not sure if there’s time although, in my opinion, the Mountain View field should be the priority now.

2003: Pima Football (gone)
2006: Tucson High
2006: Cienega
2010: Sahuarita
2010: Salpointe
2013: University of Arizona
2013: Marana
2013: Mountain View
2021: Rio Rico
2021: Douglas
2022: Mica Mountain
2022: Sunnyside
2022: Desert View


Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was 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 and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a 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, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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