Arizona High School Level Playing Field for the Season

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Arizona high school football is gearing back up but that gear up looks different – depending on your school and district. For the Phoenix Union and Tucson Unified Districts, they have done little, if any, in-person team training before this week. At the same time, other schools have been conducting workouts on and off, depending on COVID numbers spiking and CDC recommendations. was able to talk with Cesar Chavez Head Coach JR Alcantar about being in the Phoenix Union District and how he’s had fewer workouts than other districts.

“It’s been tough,” Alcantar explained. “We have been trying to practice with our boys. We are trying to get going with them. Since March, we have only had four days with our kids. We have been meeting virtually through the computer, having practice online, and just going over stuff with our boys every day.”

“Kind of stinks watching everyone else practice while we aren’t practicing and doing their thing while we are kind of sitting back waiting,” he continued. “But at the same time, we are proud of our district for taking the safety first with our kids and watching out for their health.”

Thankfully for Coach Alcantar and other Phoenix Union Schools, they were able to get back on the field with their guys this week. Central High Head Coach Chandler Hovik was candid about his feelings on Twitter with regards to some schools not having a chance to work out as much as other schools.

Hovik spoke to us about his thoughts this week and getting back on the field.

“We are feeling more confident after being given the go-ahead to resume workouts this past Monday,” he said. “There are some districts who are not back yet and I feel for them. It is hard watching other programs being able to get better while you are sidelined.” 

While there is still so much up in the air when it comes to the season and when it will start, one thing is certain and that is the AIA is doing all it can to help support the districts and coaches the best they can, but at the end of the day, it is the district’s decisions on what to do, 

According to David Hines, the AIA’s executive director, “We want to have our kids at least have the opportunity to participate in their sports without losing what we did last year in the spring. Nothing that we have is off the table at this point.”

The AIA is aware that some schools are more behind than others due to their district putting stricter guidelines on what they can and can’t do,

“We have some schools that have been doing some workouts and there are fewer schools doing a lot of work,” Hines explained. “A lot of people are doing work on their own or doing work with people not affiliated with the schools.”

Every coach is asking for an even playing field. Some schools are in phase three of getting back to work, and some are just starting phase one. Safety and being able to protect their athletes, while making them feel comfortable in the system again is key. 

“The tough part is leaving it up to each individual district,” Hovik said. “Everyone has different opinions and ideas. Whatever choice allows our student-athletes and coaches to be safe, I will support.”