SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Since January, the Saguaro High School Sabercats Varsity Football team has been training for what they hoped would be a memorable season.
Junior Ridge Docekal had big aspirations, leading the varsity team as starting quarterback for the first time in 2020.
“We’ve been working at this since January in the weight room and we have overcome so many obstacles together as a team,” he told ABC15 Thursday, just hours after learning the team's season would be forced to end. “It definitely is really sad news. My heart goes out to all the seniors that have poured their soul into this program.“
According to Saguaro High School officials, the team has confirmed three positive cases of COVID-19 among players and staff.
Head Football Coach Jason Mohns released a statement on Twitter, announcing the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s (AIA) policy on COVID-19 meant the program would have to observe a mandatory eight-day shutdown, “effectively ending our season."
The Association’s Guidelines state: “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."
The team was set to face off against Salpointe Catholic High School Friday in Tucson for the first round of the post-season playoffs in the AIA’s open division rankings.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but I mean our main priority is to be safe and you know that comes first,” said Docekal. “We’re a family at Saguaro and the main thing is to make sure everyone’s okay.”
The Sabercats (5-1) ranked third among the AIA’s Open Division Rankings. The team had not practiced this week while waiting for the results of COVID-19 testing.