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CASA GRANDE — Vista Grande was hoping for a bounce back game against Tucson Amphitheater this week after a devastating 55-18 loss to previously winless San Tan Foothills last week.

The Vista Grande coaching staff will have an additional week to mull things over on how to improve as Friday night’s home game against the Panthers has been canceled due to a couple Spartans testing positive for COVID-19.

Head coach Jon Roberts told PinalCentral that all football related activities are shut down until Monday and that this week’s freshman/sophomore game also against Amphitheater is canceled.

“It’s part of the rollercoaster,” Roberts said. “In order for us to not be hit with an eight-game suspension we decided to shut everything down until Monday. We’ve been through this before at the beginning of the season and if we don’t get ahead of it, it snowballs.”

The Spartans only practiced on Monday when they got word that a few players tested positive and so Tuesday’s practice was canceled.

“We didn’t want to be in a situation like Seton Catholic did (Casa Grande) Union, where they waited until Friday and then made a decision,” Roberts said. “We knew if we were going to make a decision then we needed to make it early.”

This is not the first time this season that Vista Grande has had to deal with a canceled game, their season opener was delayed one week as they were hit hard during the preseason and had to canceled the first game against Tucson Pusch Ridge.

Originally the Spartans (2-2) were scheduled to have a bye week on Nov. 5 but following the cancelation of their season opener they managed to schedule a game against Yuma Kofa to complete the 10-game schedule.

Vista Grande is scheduled to begin region (4A Copper Sky) play next week against Phoenix Sierra Linda.

“It’s better right now to kind of mitigate it and to nullify it before it gets out of hand,” Roberts said of trying to contain the virus’ impact. “If we miss a region game then basically the season is over because you can’t those back up.”

Roberts added that if things go as planned the team will return to practice next week. He hopes that this week off will refresh the Spartans.

“We’re just so young and the ups and downs, we just have to build some consistency,” he said. “I think if history does help us, the last time we went through something like this we came out on fire. We can possibly have that same effect going in against Sierra Linda.”

In last week’s loss the Spartans rush for 127 yards as a team and sophomore quarterback Darnell Castro tossed for 47 yards on 4 of 16 passing and one touchdown.

The touchdown was a 30-yard pass to Angel Valdez. The other score for the Spartans was a kick return touchdown by Fernando Moya.

“Last week was a wakeup call for a lot of people, including the kids,” Roberts said. “Now that this has happened to us twice, we really can’t take anything for granted.”

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Maria Vasquez is the Sports Editor for PinalCentral. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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