Shortly after Tucson Unified School District cut the red ribbon and finished its re-dedication of Gridley Field, a monsoon prevented the Tucson High Badgers from taking the field Friday.
Instead, dangerously close lightning forced athletes and fans to seek shelter. The game was postponed until 6 p.m. Saturday.
Tucson High is no stranger to monsoons. After all, that’s why the Badgers went without a home field last season.
In July 2017, a powerful monsoon flooded Gridley Field, which also resulted in busted plumbing pipes below ground. On Wednesday, after more than a year and approximately $700,000 in repairs, the Badgers finally stepped foot onto the new turf.
So, when the team was forced to wait out the storm in their locker room instead of playing Pueblo, the question remained: Will the new field be able to withstand a powerful monsoon?
The answer was yes. But after a 90-minute delay, the plug was pulled due to all the lightning that canceled the majority of games slated to be played in Southern Arizona on Friday.
“We were pushing. The officiating crew wanted to stay, I wanted to stay. We were going to push as far as we could,” Tucson coach Justin Argraves said. “Then our district athletic director, obviously, he’s in charge, we decided, if we were going to do it, we were going to push it into midnight.
“So, everyone was into agreement to take this thing into (Saturday).”
Argraves said the change in schedule will disrupt previously scheduled events, such as Pop Warner games.
The one plus side to the night’s events was that the new field was able to withstand the monsoon. After more than an hour of heavy rain, the only puddles were in the back lot and not on the new turf.
Gridley will be ready for the redo on Saturday.
“We’ve gone through not having a field all last year, we’ve gone through not having a field to practice on, having to travel, not having a home field,” Argraves said. “To be honest with you, it’s nothing new. It’s just another thing we have to deal with.”
In games that completed Friday, Douglas, Salpointe Catholic and Marana all were big winners.
Saturday's rescheduled games
• Cienega at Cholla, 9 a.m.
• Palo Verde at Catalina, 9 a.m.
• Sierra Vista Buena at Sahuaro, 10 a.m.
• Walden Grove at Flowing Wells, 11 a.m.
• Glendale Cactus at Catalina Foothills, 4 p.m.
• Rio Rico at Empire, 5 p.m.
• Pueblo at Tucson High, 6 p.m.