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Top athletes in respective sports representing Higley

Arizona’s rise in athletic prowess over the last decade has led to national recognition for the state by way of top-ranked athletes in their respective sports. 

Many Arizonans have appeared in championship games, Olympics and more high-magnitude sporting events. In recent years, several schools in the East Valley have seen some of its own competing at a high level, including Highland, Desert Ridge, Perry, Chandler and Hamilton. These same schools, plus others, are also breeding the next generation of talent. 

Higley now joins that list.

“Personally, I’ve never been a part of something like this,” Higley football coach and the on-campus NCAA Coordinator Eddy Zubey said. “I t...

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Gilbert Tigers conquering demons one game at a time

Head coach Derek Zellner of the Gilbert Tigers always preaches to his players, “don’t make a bad play a disaster.” This has been an omen for the Tigers season as they started the year off 0-2. 

After losing in Week 1 to Desert Mountain 34-7 and falling to Mesquite 20-0 in Week 2, the Tigers went into practice understanding that they have work to do. However, they are ultimately prepared for the difficult road ahead. 

The mood in practice was described by senior center Carson Bryce as very encouraging and the energy was a lot higher than usual. 

Zellner knows the team can compete at a high level but feels that they are shooting themselves in the foot and the constant turnove...

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EV player joins suicide prevention effort

Basha junior defensive back Cole Martin is one of 15 Arizona high school football players who have pledged to raise awareness of teen suicide in Arizona. 

Martin, one of the top players in the country in the 2023 class, is starring in videos that carry messages of hope to teens struggling with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. 

Often these teens feel like they have nobody to talk to. 

Martin and the 14 other players, in partnership with Teen Lifeline and the Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club, hope to show them that is not the case. 

“They help teens that are in need with suicide support,” Martin said. “It’s a great thing that I’m excited to help with...

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Football preview: Williams Field hitting ‘reset’ after COVID season

This is part two of a two-part series previewing Gilbert high school football teams ahead of the 2021 season. 

 

The 2020 football season, played during the COVID-19 pandemic, was an anomaly for the Williams Field High School program. 

It was the first time in program history the Blackhawks didn’t make the playoffs. Though, that can be attributed to the eight-team playoff brackets instituted by the AIA because of the pandemic. Normally, 16 teams enter the playoffs. Nonetheless, the Blackhawks, who went 5-3 last season, are biting at the bit to return to postseason play in 2021. 

Head coach Steve Campbell, who has led the team to two state titles, said that ...

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Football preview: Kerry Taylor ready for next step with San Tan Charter

When Kerry Taylor was hired to take over the San Tan Charter football team, a program that would be part of the Arizona Interscholastic Association for the first time, he set out to accomplish specific goals. 

He wanted to establish a new culture, one that weeded out those who were not willing to buy in to a mentality centered around hard work on and off the field. He also wanted to make San Tan Charter a destination school not only for its academics but athletic programs, too. But most importantly, he wanted to use his connections to help send athletes to the next level. 

“The reason I’m coaching high school football is to help them get there,” Taylor said. “I’m blessed and lucky enough to...

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Fall preview: Consistency key for Highland cross country

David Montgomery’s goal for Highland Cross Country every season is clear: make the state meet. 

He doesn’t want runners to get afraid or too hyped up regarding goals. Instead, he preaches consistency as the hallmark of his program. 

Before living in Arizona, Montgomery lived in Eugene, home to the University of Oregon and one of the top collegiate track and field programs in the country. He learned from some of the Ducks’ coaches and applies elements of their experience into the Hawks today. 

According to Montgomery, Highland is not a high-mileage team in practice, with summer runs and a smaller winter track program for distance runners. Yet their success on the course is e...

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