Red Mountain’s Peterson Putting Safety Before Football

Football is a big deal to Red Mountain High head coach Mike Peterson but the safety of his players, staff and their families is bigger.

He proved that Monday announcing the Mountain Lions, who were just seconds away from a 6A State Championship last fall, would shut down workouts for the remainder of the month to focus on their safety.

“All of this,” Peterson explained to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Tuesday morning. “Is just a risk-reward for us. It just balanced out. It’s getting more restrictive for us and the City of Mesa. Hey, let’s take a pause for the cause and see what we can do to help the state and the community. Let’s just take a deep breath and see where it goes in the next couple of weeks.”

Peterson said he and his staff have 20 pass play installs but without using footballs in workouts, it somewhat defeats the purpose –while putting the RMHS program at risk for essentially no reason.

“The numbers are spiking and the restrictions are becoming more,” Peterson said. “We had done just about all we could do without any footballs…because somebody is going to throw it and somebody is going to catch it and somebody is going to get in trouble from the district. That somebody is me.”

Peterson said he communicated with his staff last weekend over text to discuss the plan of postponing because of the rising numbers of cases not only in the Valley, but the entire state. 

Further, some of his players and staff members live with their elderly parents or are highly at-risk individuals, which made his decision even easier in the end. 

“Let’s see what we can do to help and not gather next time at somebody’s funeral,” he expressed.

He noted the inconsistencies of workouts from neighboring schools as the AIA has, essentially, left it up to their districts to decide workout schedules, as long as they follow the different “phase” protocol. 

Peterson stressed he technically only canceled this week’s workouts because Red Mountain was scheduled to be off all of next week for the 4th of July holiday break.

According to the fourth-year head coach who’s 31-8 since taking over, Red Mountain has close to 200 players in their program. He said the feedback he’s gotten from players and parents since they were notified of the cancelations has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“We’re just trying to do our part.”

Let’s hope other Arizona head coaches follow his lead.