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The Combs-Apache Junction rivalry took on a new meaning when the two teams met in November. For the first time the winner of the annual football game would receive the Battle of Ironwood Trophy. The Prospectors ended up keeping the trophy for another year with a 42-28 win Nov. 1, 2019.

APACHE JUNCTION — The PinalCentral Game of the Week between Apache Junction and Combs will not be played Friday, as positive COVID-19 tests have put Apache Junction in quarantine.

The two rival schools were set to face off in the annual Battle of Ironwood on Friday at Apache Junction High School.

Combs (2-1) responded quickly to the cancellation and picked up a replacement game against 5A Gilbert High (1-4). That game will be played Friday in Gilbert.

Apache Junction (3-2) has also canceled its Nov. 13 regular season finale, a home game against Tempe.

AJHS sent a letter to all parents Monday informing them of the positive COVID-19 test and the following steps that would be taken.

“The administration team was made aware of a positive COVID-19 case today on campus,” the letter stated. “As the reports were made to the Pinal County Health Department and contact tracing was done the decision has been made that your child should be quarantined for the next 14 days. Your child can report back to school on Monday, November 16.”

This positive test for the virus will affect all sports and activities, not just football. Additional positive cases were reported coming from athletics.

According to the AJHS website, the football, volleyball and cheer programs will not participate in any athletic activities for the next two weeks due to “positive tests within their respective programs.”

It’s the second time this season Combs had to reschedule a game on short notice due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Their season opener with Cave Creek Cactus Shadows was canceled due to an outbreak at that school.

Combs found a replacement game with 5A Sierra Vista Buena, which the Coyotes lost 33-20. Combs also had its own outbreak in mid-October, which shut down the high school through Oct. 27.

Apache Junction made it known that is not the case at its schools.

“Contrary to reports on social media, the Apache Junction Unified School District has not shut down its schools,” a post on its website said.

The district said it is a challenging time for everyone.

“We ask that you do your part in quarantining your child,” it said on the website. “Your child will not be allowed on campus or able to participate in any school events from Tuesday, November 3-Sunday, November 15; they may return back to school on Monday, November 16.”

The Prospectors football team is coming off a 49-27 win over Phoenix Arcadia on Friday. According to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, football teams must play a minimum of five games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Fortunately for Apache Junction, it has already played five games.

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