Arizona high school football kicks off for some schools, but not without challenges

Two AZ school districts agree to play fall football schedule together

Many schools will be kicking off their high school football seasons tonight, but two school districts will be waiting an extra month.

PHOENIX – Many schools will be kicking off their high school football seasons tonight, but two school districts will be waiting an extra month.

Phoenix Union High School District and Tolleson Union High School District have not met the metrics to start sports on the AIA timeline.

However, they’ve both agreed to play an alternative fall football and girls volleyball schedule together with ongoing conversations for other sports.

“As we move further down the road, it just gave us an opportunity.”

TUHSD Director Derek Fahleson says they were following the guidelines and waiting for local health benchmarks to meet Arizona Interscholastic Association standards.

“We have protocols in place. We have our procedures and our guidelines provided by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee with the AIA and we’re following those,” Fahleson said. “And if we happen to have cases that occur on any of our fall athletic teams or our co-curricular programs, we’re going to implement those protocols to create a safe environment for not only the participants but anyone who attends and our coaches as well.”

As for the teams kicking off, a game tonight already had to be canceled because of a positive COVID-19 test.

“Something like that. I don’t want to say it’s inevitable because we’ve put all the plans in place, with safety first in mind and hopefully, we can get all the games up,” said Seth Polansky with the AIA. “If you look at Utah, their week one had two cancellations right off the bat including Bingham which their powerhouse team up there. We just ask people to continue being safe. The virus is still among us and we’re trying to mitigate it the best we can.”

As for the teams kicking off on Oct. 2, each individual school will have its own set of rules for attendance. AIA recommends checking the rules before heading to the game.

PUHSD and TUSHD will have a bowl game for the winners so the teams get to experience a playoff-type atmosphere.


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