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Despite COVID-19, team sports still being played in Valley

Hamilton and Chandler High School Football game
Posted at 9:05 PM, Dec 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-06 00:46:11-05

Despite some local leaders shutting down recreational fields, and canceling youth tournaments due to COVID-19, team sports are still being played.

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Earlier this week, the Phoenix City Council bent to public pressure and voted 7-2 in favor of shutting down organized sports at the city's recreational fields. However, across the Valley, organized sports are still ongoing.

In the East Valley, high school football playoffs were headlined by Hamilton and Chandler High Schools playing their respective games. At Hamilton High School, outside the gates to the football field, security guards scan the incoming crowd making sure every fan has a mask covering their face.

"We feel very grateful to be here, we feel safe, we’ve got our masks on," said Marcia Herrick, a parent to a member of the school's dance team.

"They’re all following the requirements so that we can stay safe and continue to have things like high school football," said Walter Cuff, a parent.

ABC15 learned that earlier in the day, members of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, or AIA, the governing body of Arizona high school sports, called the athletic directors of participating schools and said that play could be stopped if fans are not wearing masks while in the stands.

A few weeks ago, hundreds of people, players and family, took part in a softball tournament that spanned across many cities. One of those teams, from California, is still planning to come to Arizona for future tournaments.

"I can tell you there’s a lot of girls going over to Arizona to play, to give them some playing time," said Phillip Yescas, coach of the Desert Runners Softball Team from Imperial, Calif.

Yescas said his team is traveling to Bullhead City next weekend for a tournament. He cited mental health as a reason that his team continues to want to play, despite a potential health risk.

“I have some girls on my team that are an only child. They’re at home all day So they really look forward to going to practice and tournaments and getting out of the house," said Yescas.