NHS-RRHS football (copy)

Jose Jimenez carries the ball for Nogales during a game in 2019. The Apaches have yet to play a game in 2020, but aren't giving up on a season quite yet.

The Nogales High School football team has yet to play a game this season, having cancelled all four of its scheduled contests so far due to positive COVID tests and/or close contact with positive cases among its ranks.

Those cancellations include a game against Rio Rico that was scheduled to be played this Friday, Nov. 20, at Apache Stadium.

“We’re just making sure that we’re keeping everyone safe,” NHS Principal Tim Colgate said.

But with two games still on their schedule – Dec. 4 at Walden Grove and Dec. 10 at home against Douglas – the Apaches aren’t giving up on their season.

“We’re hoping to get games in with our kids, absolutely,” Colgate said. “They worked hard and we want to try to make that happen for them.”

He added that in addition to the two remaining scheduled games, NHS is exploring the possibility of adding a game or rescheduling the Rio Rico contest for Dec. 18.

“We are working on that and we’re hoping that that can come to fruition,” he said.

For their part, the Rio Rico Hawks have managed to play three football games so far this season. They were shut out at Amphitheater on Oct. 30, then rebounded the following week to beat Santa Rita 36-19 in Tucson behind 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns from senior Edryann Rodriguez.

They fell 48-13 last Friday to Tanque Verde at home.

Rio Rico is currently set to play at Sahuarita on Dec. 4, and could potentially add more games.

“We will continue to play as long as we are able, which is dependent on continuous testing to monitor the health of student athletes and coaches, and opponent availability,” Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Shannon Enciso said in an email. “The schedule is fluid as opponents have had positive COVID-19 results, forcing changes to the schedule. It is our hope that we can fulfill our remaining schedule.”

As the high school football season winds down, NHS and RRHS say their winter sports teams have been practicing for their upcoming seasons, following safety guidelines and participating in regular coronavirus testing.

But it will still be a while before they play any games.

On Thursday, the Arizona Interscholastic Association announced that its executive board had adopted a recommendation from staff to push the start of the winter sports competition season back to Jan. 5. Games typically begin in late November or early December.

The AIA also announced on Thursday that the spring high school sports season would begin Feb. 15.

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