COVID-19 Ends Saguaro High School’s 2020 Football Campaign

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 26, 2020) – Despite valiant efforts to stave off the coronavirus since practice began in September, members of Saguaro High School’s varsity football team tested positive this week for COVID-19, effectively bringing the Sabercats’ 2020 season to an end.

Saguaro (5-1), ranked third in the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Open Division rankings, was scheduled to host number six Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, tomorrow in the first round of the post-season playoffs. The team had not practiced this week while it waited for the results of COVID-19 testing.

The AIA’s Recommended Guidelines for Returning to Athletic Activity, Section III. F., states, ”The number of team members, coaches, or staff working with a team who develop acute COVID-like illness or positive COVID-19 PCR tests on a team that call for a suspension of in person activities is defined as >2 members per team for teams with 25 or more members and 2 members for teams with less than 25 members.”

Saguaro head football coach Jason Mohns informed his team this morning that it will not play tomorrow. “I am heartbroken for all of our players, coaches, trainers, staff and family members who have sacrificed and persevered through one of the most difficult times of all of our lives. I am especially devastated for our seniors, who have given so much to our program, but have lost so many of the experiences and opportunities that make our program great.”

“Our players have done everything we asked of them to stay safe and protect their season. I tell our boys all the time to focus on controlling what we can control. This outcome was out of our control. As the Head Coach of the Saguaro Football program, I want to tell you that I am as proud as ever of the players and people involved with our team,” Mohns concludes.

The Sabercats had already had three of their games cancelled this season because of COVID-19 outbreaks on teams they were scheduled to face:  Chaparral High School, Scottsdale, on Oct. 2; Campo Verde, Gilbert, on Nov. 6; and Notre Dame Prep, Scottsdale, on Nov. 13. An Oct. 30 match-up against Horizon High School, Phoenix, was rescheduled and played on Nov. 13.

“SUSD has consistently relied on the medical professionals as we navigate the challenges presented to education by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says SUSD Director of Athletics Nathan Slater. “Not being able to play on Friday night is very disappointing for our players, coaches, staff, Saguaro and the entire Scottsdale community. This is in the best interest of public health, after consultation with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and as outlined in the Arizona Interscholastic Association Guidelines.”   

Despite the abrupt end to its season, Saguaro Principal Ann Achtziger says she is proud of the way the Sabercats dealt with adversity this season and is grateful to the coaches. “What our student athletes learned along the way about perseverance and commitment to a common purpose, both on and off the field, will be of such value as they graduate from Saguaro and move on to whatever is next. In the end, I know our Sabercats will come out ahead.”

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