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Parents and kids upset with the call as districts, health officials stand-by decision to halt fall sports

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TUCSON - “Let our boys play we are not super spreaders for the virus,” Paula Walton said Wednesday afternoon.

Walton’s son, Teddy is a senior linebacker on a Mountain View High School football squad that saw their pandemic shortened-season abruptly canceled Tuesday.

“I’ll never get to play with these guys that I have such strong bonds with,” 17-year-old Teddy said. “I think of them as family and it’s sad to think it got taken away just like that.”

“My son has played for 10 years,” Walton said. “He has spent over half of his life playing football, wanting to get a scholarship to go to college and that is ruined at this point.”

Canyon Del Oro senior quarterback, Montana Neustader, is shocked about how quickly things came to an end. He tells News 4 Tucson he will take a lesson from this call he vehemently disagrees with.

“Be grateful for what we did accomplish in the short amount of time that we had,” Neustader said. “It’s still just that bitter pill to swallow for all the seniors because that’s the last time most of us will ever put on a helmet.”

Almost 4,000 new coronavirus cases were reported statewide Wednesday. Pima County Deputy Administrator Dr. Francisco Garcia said the county shut down a Thanksgiving weekend soccer tournament that would have brought kids and families to Southern Arizona from across state lines.

After making that decision, the county went to school superintendents.

“To be consistent with that and because of concern for other youth athletic activities,” Garcia said.  “And specifically the social interaction that happens. Not actually what happens on the field of play, but the social interactions that happen too.”

News 4 Tucson has learned some parents are thinking about protesting the decision outside the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting on Dec. 1.

Garcia tells News 4 Tucson’s Eric Fink this community is in a dire situation.
and this doctor maintains he and his colleagues made the right call.

“Right now, when we are running out of beds in hospitals, it is really critical that each of us be doing our part,” he said. “So that’s part of the reason we made that recommendation to the superintendents and part of the reason that we will stand by it.”

Teddy Walton believes his team is resilient. In a year of so many disappointments and challenges, it’s that resiliency this high school senior is choosing to remember.

“We always wanted the season,” he said. “We always wanted to play together, we always just wanted more and I’ll just remember them as the team that never stopped fighting for it.”

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Eric Fink

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