SIERRA VISTA — Instead of taking the field Friday night, Buena football players had the night off due to not having a game scheduled.
The plan was to schedule games with teams as they come up throughout the week because Tucson schools had not determined what their plans for football were when Buena decided to play the AIA sanctioned season. Buena had two games scheduled before the season started.
Buena scrambled to find their first game of the season against Combs and made the plans 48 hours before the game, which they traveled to San Tan Valley for. Then their Week 2 matchup against Paradise Valley was solidified the Tuesday before the Friday night game, due to Salpointe Catholic having to reschedule and Paradise Valley’s scheduled opponent having to cancel because of COVID-19.
Buena could have played on Friday. Hamilton, a powerhouse 6A school extended an offer to play but coach Joe Thomas declined in order to protect his players from athletes who are much bigger than his and have a majority of their players with Division 1 scholarships.
Late Wednesday night, Combs had to cancel their game at Mingus Union High School because of the coronavirus. Mingus, a 4A school in Cottonwood, had agreed to host the Colts since they had officials lined up and everything in place to host a game, pending permission from school administrators.
Buena principal Kristen Hale declined the offer. She told the Herald/Review late Thursday afternoon because of the short notice and how far Mingus is from Sierra Vista it wasn’t possible for the school to accept the invitation.
“Five and a half hours is a very long drive for a football game,” Hale said.
She added with more notice they could have had all the paperwork, for transportation and overnight stay, filed for the team to go.
“We’ve been very open to go (places),” Hale said. “We’re open (to playing) lower lever 6A schools and high 4A teams. No one is interested in playing right now.”
In the remaining hours of the business day on Thursday, Mingus scheduled a game with River Valley — who also at the last minute lost their scheduled opponent for Friday.
The Colts have one scheduled home game so far. They are scheduled to host Cienega on Nov. 13, however, Cienega has ceased football practices after being instructed to do so by their superintendent. It is unclear if they will be able to play against Buena.
Buena is scheduled to play at Salpointe Catholic on Friday. Salpointe needs to be cleared after quarantining for 14 days to play. If they are not cleared, another scramble search will be on to find an opponent.