NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The date is getting close; The high school football season, delayed by COVID-19, is scheduled to get underway on Febuary 1 with practices starting on January 19. Cross country and volleyball are also slated for a Feb. 15 start date.

With those dates fast approaching, the New Mexico Activities Association is still waiting for the final green light. “No decision, at this point, from the Governor’s Office, the Public Education Department, or the Department of Health,” said NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez.

With football coming up, first coaches remain hopeful. Cleveland Storm head football coach Heath Ridenour led his team to a Class 6A championship in the last season that went off without a hitch. “Where I have hope and stuff like that is, there’s so many states that have done it,” said Ridenour. “There’s so many studies that have proven that high school and high school sports are not a big spreader of COVID. You know, people are able to do it and it’s just unfortunate that our kids are the ones that are paying the price.”

New Mexico is one of four states that is not competing after the cancellation of spring sports and the delay of fall from last year due to state health orders for COVID-19. Marquez is hoping it doesn’t happen again and is doing everything possible to help the situation. The NMAA recently partnered with a mask making company and there is a good reason. “I think at this point, all student-athletes for the remainder of this school year, even in spring sports, need to be prepared that there is going to be mask-wearing and that’s for practice and for competition,” said Marquez.

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