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Football rankings: Mesa district takes on new eligibility system

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Mountain View coaches during the high school football game between Mountain View and Pinnacle on Sept. 8 in Phoenix. (Billy Hardiman/MyNewsMesa.com)

The athletes in the Mesa school district have a new penance for grades that come up short of keeping them eligible.

To get more in-line with the surrounding school districts, students have their grades checked weekly and if deemed ineligible they can become eligible the following week if he/she is able to get their grades up by the next check in.

The student must pass all classes (minimum of five) at the end of each grading period (semester grades are used at end of the second and fourth nine-week period).

It’s a far less drastic ramification than it had been in previous years when a check of the grades at the progress report time meant the student was out for four and half weeks until the grading period ended.

“Grades are checked on Friday for eligibility on Monday,” Mesa wrestling coach David DiDomenico said. “It’s good because we stay on top of their learning progress daily. It could be bad if you have a fringe academic performer and he blows a test. But it also necessitates a culture of the teacher and coaches working together for the kid’s academic success.”

It used to mean a student would miss the rest of the season after the half-way point of the first grading period of the season.

“This way the student athlete has a chance to correct mistakes and not be completely penalized,” Mesa District athletic director Steve Hogen said.

Skyline had one defensive starter and one special teams/defensive sub ineligible this past week after getting low grades in an honors math class.

Instead of losing them for the season, each player could be on the field this week.

“It gives them a chance, and now it is up to them,” Skyline coach Angelo Paffumi said.

Additionally, freshman athletes are now having their eligibility checked earlier than in years past to help those who may struggle early in the process.

“They can get help right away if they are struggling and hopefully give them a chance to correct some bad habits,” Hogen said. “We feel like all the changes are going to work out better for everyone involved.”

Now let’s check on how the 6A Conference graded out and how those who failed this week were penalized:

6A Conference rankings:

  1. Chandler 7-2 (No. 1 last week)
  2. Perry 8-1 (2)
  3. Hamilton 7-2 (3)
  4. Desert Ridge 8-1 (4)
  5. Mountain Pointe 7-2 (5)
  6. Red Mountain 7-2 (6)
  7. Pinnacle 7-3 (7)
  8. Highland 7-2 (8)
  9. Desert Vista 5-4 (10)
  10. Skyline 5-4 (9)
  11. Mountain View 5-4 (12)
  12. Cesar Chavez 6-3 (14)
  13. Gilbert 4-5 (13)
  14. Desert Mountain 5-4 (15)
  15. Boulder Creek 4-5 (-)
The Red Mountain Lions line up for the National Anthem. (Corey Cross/MyNewsMesa.com)

Mesa Seven

  1. Desert Ridge 8-1, 4-0 (1 last week) – The Jaguars took care of Desert Vista, and now only Highland stands in the way of an outright region title.
  2. Red Mountain 7-2, 4-0 (2) – Seven-game win streak is the longest in program history during the MaxPreps era (2004).
  3. Skyline 5-4, 3-1 (3) – Coyotes must hit reset button in Week 10 without 1,000-yard rusher Aaron Wood (collarbone) out and quarterback Steven Castle (ribs) questionable.
  4. Mountain View 5-4, 2-2 (4) – The Toros must win and hope. Maybe go 6-4 and miss out of playoff because all region champs won’t finish within the top 16.
  5. Mesa 4-6, 2-2 (5) – With Kris Jackson out, Marcus Taylor showed what he could do when given a chance.
  6. Westwood 4-5, 1-3 (6) – Warriors have made strides, but clearly need more bodies to stand up to upper echelon region teams.
  7. Dobson 3-6, 0-4 (7) – Pete Wahlheim will continue to make changes within the program this offseason and the culture will change over time.

– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to jskoda@mynewsmesa.com.

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