AIA considers earlier start for football season

Mingus Union defensive back Chaz Taylor smacks a Prescott Badger last season. The AIA is considering making Zero Week the start of the season, which would give teams another bye week potentially. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

Mingus Union defensive back Chaz Taylor smacks a Prescott Badger last season. The AIA is considering making Zero Week the start of the season, which would give teams another bye week potentially. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

As the popularity of football “Zero Week” grows, the Arizona Interscholastic Association is considering starting the season early.

At their meeting on Wednesday, the AIA tabled the request to establish one start date for all football programs. Currently some teams play before Week 1 in Zero Week games.

Last year Arizona schools played 52 games during Zero Week, two on August 18, 46 on August 19 and four on August 20.

If the AIA changes its rule, then Zero Week would become Week 1 and they would have an extra bye if they play the first week.

Mingus Union head football coach Bob Young said the Marauders like to play on Zero Week but weren’t able to during this two-year scheduling block so he likes the idea of making Zero Week the first week.

“That’s great it gives you 11 weeks to play 10 games,” Young said.

For the 2017 season, Arizona teams have already scheduled 55 games for Zero Week.

The 4A conference presented the rule and the AIA board was all the conferences to examine the potential change.

“I think it’s a good idea but also a bad idea,” said Mingus Union receiver/defensive back Jordan Huey. “Starting early, there could be teams in front of you that could win or lose that might determine something towards the end of the season like with your team but also if you get rid of that zero week, you’re going to have less practices, which might affect you too.”

Last month the AIA approved year round practices but for football, they can’t practice with helmets or shoulder pads during the off-season.

Young said the rule change wouldn’t affect the Marauders that much, that they schedule Zero Week games when they can.

“The only thing I don’t like about it is you gotta start so early in the summer, it’s so stinking hot,” Young said. “They could back everything off and still have Zero Week but that evidently is not happening but yeah I’m good with all that.”

Showers reelected to AIA executive board

The AIA executive board also reelected Camp Verde athletic director Mark Showers.

The board also retained Maricopa County district athletic director Mark Cisterna and added Higley district athletic director Michael Fowler.

The executive board features nine members from entities like the Tucson Unified School District, Flagstaff, Xavier, Chandler Unified School District and Maricopa United.

Showers will serve a three-year term.

“Mark has always been a great asset to not only Athletics but to every kid that’s at Camp Verde High School,” said Camp Verde head softball coach Henry Smith. “For AIA to recognize him in that aspect is a huge honor for him I’m sure but for somebody like myself who grew up looking up to Mr. Showers it’s neat to know that somebody with his professionalism and his commitment is there representing not only Camp Verde but Arizona. So he earned that title and of course we’re proud to have Mr. Showers as our leader.”

Golf state tournaments moving to Omni Tucson National Resort

The AIA also announced that the golf state tournaments will move to Omni Tucson National Resort starting in the fall.

This year the Division II state tournaments were held at Randolph Golf Complex in Tucson and the Division III state tournaments will be at that Tucson complex as well.

Mingus Union’s golf team is Division II and Camp Verde and Sedona Red Rock’s are Division III.

Randolph is couple municipal courses while Omni Tucson National is currently the host of the Tucson Conquistadores Classic of the PGA Champions Tour. Omni Tucson National previously hosted the PGA Tour’s Chrysler Classic and Southern Arizona Open.

“By partnering with the Omni Tucson National Resort, the AIA is providing our Arizona golf student-athletes a chance to compete on a first-rate, top-tier course that will be a fair but challenging test of golf,” said Dean Visser, the AIA’s golf tournament director in a press release. “The Omni will also allow us to have the boys and girls simultaneously play over two days for Division I and II, allowing us to better utilize AIA staff and volunteers.”

Omni Tucson National Resort will host the Division II 2017 state tournament on October 23-24 and the Division I tournament a week later. When next year’s Division III in May will be staged will be announced at a later date.

“We are excited to support junior golf in our community,” said Danny Medina, The Omni Tucson National Resorts’ Director of Golf in a press realease. “Hosting the state championships will allow young men and women to play at a championship facility. Omni Tucson National Resort is proud to be that facility that will hopefully leave an everlasting memory for the kids.”

The 2017 Division III state tournament will be May 11-12 at Randolph Golf Complex in Tucson. Sedona Red Rock is ranked No. 8 and Camp Verde No. 48.

In the fall the Mingus Union golf team played in the state tournament for the first time since 2009.

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