Flood of disappointment after semi-final football games rained out

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Rainy weather forced high school football players to forgo the field, Friday night, after the Arizona Interscholastic Association cancelled all semi-final games in the state.

"Our whole team wanted to play," said Saguaro High School quarterback Luke Rubenzer. "Our whole team was pumped up, ready to go."

He and his team learned Friday morning the playoff games had been postponed.

"We were prepared to play in wet weather all week,” said Coach Jason Mohns. But instead, he took the team bowling Friday evening.

"I think part of football is it’s outside sports. It’s not like basketball where it’s always in the gym; it’s dealing with the elements, dealing with the weather no matter what," said Rubenzer.

They cite the 2007 "Mud Bowl" as case and point.

That semi-final was played in the rain, despite a flooded field.

"We’ve been there before, we’ve played in these kind of conditions, so we were just surprised. We fully expected to play tonight," said Coach Mohns.

A similar sentiment was evident at Desert Ridge in Mesa.

"We were hoping this would be an advantage," said student Gavin Hatch who planned on attending the game.

He said his school’s team also prepped for wet weather.

However, instead of playing Friday, Desert Ridge’s team went to the movies.

While players and coaches describe disappointment, AIA Executive Director Harold Slemmer said standing water made the fields unplayable and unsafe.

"This goes beyond a muddy field, this is a field that’s got standing water all over it. It’s going to certainly cause an issue with kids controlling their movements in the game, and that’s going to certainly increase the risk of injury," said Slemmer.

The teams are now gearing up for Monday, when games have been rescheduled.

"My only concern now is with the adjustment of the schedule, the teams that are going to play for the State Championship are going to have to turn around and play four days later, and I think that’s just as much of a safety concern," said Coach Mohns.