Collateral damage: Some high school sports games canceled due to AZ teacher walkout

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"Any games being canceled would affect us to not have the chance to take the one seed," Desert Vista varsity volleyball player Nick Heeres said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "Any games being canceled would affect us to not have the chance to take the one seed," Desert Vista varsity volleyball player Nick Heeres said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Trying to keep their heads in the game is hard for high school athletes when they don’t know what’s going to happen to the rest of their season.

“The walkout, if it affects playoffs at all, that would be very bad,” said Desert Vista varsity player Nick Heeres.

“As far as varsity’s concerned, it’s all up in the air. Who knows?” Clay Webb, the Desert Vista boys volleyball coach, said. He was already told their freshmen and junior varsity games on Thursday are canceled because of the walkout.

[RELATED: Arizona school districts release plans for teacher walkout]

“It’s frustrating because you want all levels to be able to continue to develop, continue to play because freshmen and JV, their games matter, too,” said Webb.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association told districts it’s up to them whether they play, but said canceled games won't be included in rankings. That means teams won't have the chance to move up or down.

Desert Vista’s varsity boys volleyball team is ranked No. 2 in the state. Heeres said he hopes to end his senior year at No. 1.

“Any games being canceled would affect us to not have the chance to take the one seed,” said Heeres.

[VIDEO: Glendale 8th grader calls teacher walkout 'extremely selfish decision']

For other players, it’s about more than just the high school court. DV junior Landon Fuller has colleges watching him right now, and can’t afford to sit these matches out.

"I’ve been putting together a highlight tape," he said. "It definitely decreases the amount of time colleges are able to come look at me."

As of now, varsity volleyball games are still scheduled to be played this week, but Webb said things change day by day. It’s a frustrating place for him to be because he’s a teacher, too.

“It’s tough because as an educator I stand for ‘Red for Ed,’ obviously because I feel that’s just, for us teachers,” said Webb.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Schools in Crisis]

But he said he’ll put his team first, encouraging them to bring their “A” game, while they still can.

As for other high school sports heading into playoff games, those are still scheduled to be played. If a school chooses not to play, they will have to take a forfeit.

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Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

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Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMY awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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