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Football roundup: Some Gilbert teams reached playoffs

The 2020 football season is nearing its conclusion – a feat many might deem as incredible given the uncertain circumstances as the pandemic rages on. 

Most Gilbert programs were able to finish their entire schedules without COVID-related issues. Still, some were forced to play fewer games. Even then, though, several Gilbert teams have advanced to the playoffs after a shortened regular season. 

Teams were able to schedule a “bowl game” after the regular season concluded. Here’s how each Gilbert football team fared in the COVID-shortened 2020 regular season.

Mesquite

Mesquite, the defending 4A champion, found itself once again atop the conference rankings thi...

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AIA OKs Jan. 5 start for winter sports

The Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board has set Jan. 5 for the start of winter sports.

The winter sports season was originally scheduled to begin on Nov. 9 but was delayed as COVID-19 cases surged and the AIA hopes the delay might see a downward trend in the virus, as what happened when fall sports was delayed.

“It is safer to be at school with your kids than at home,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said. “Delaying the start of the season will give our coaches and administrators time to implement safety protocols and put sports modifications in place.”

For competition to begin, specific guidelines must be met.

Student who participate in ...

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Scottsdale, Gilbert men elected into PGA office

Two local golf advocates from Scottsdale and Gilbert have been elected into office for the Professional Golf Association of America, the world’s most prestigious organization for the classic game. 

Jim Richerson, a Scottsdale resident who serves as the senior vice president of operations for Troon, was elected the 42nd president of PGA of America during the 104th annual meeting on Oct. 29, held virtually for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic. Don Rea Jr., a Gilbert resident and owner and general manager of Augusta Ranch Golf Club in East Mesa, was elected PGA secretary during the meeting. 

“It’s extremely exciting for me and my family,” Richerson said. “It’s unbelievably h...

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Perry badminton wins fourth title in dramatic fashion

Perry badminton was pushed more than it has been all year but claimed its fourth consecutive AIA Badminton Division I Team Championship Thursday with a 5-2 victory over Sunnyslope.

Perry came in as the prohibitive favorite and No. 1 seed. Before the match, coach Lerina Johnson said the Vikings, winners of three of the past four Division 2 titles before moving up to D1 in 2020, would provide her team a unique test as one of the most talented and well-coached squads the Pumas had faced in years.

The Pumas started the final hot. Each of Perry’s six singles players won the first set. But, while the top three, senior Kate Macpherson, junior Nikhita Jayaraj and senior Ashley Rodarte all closed ou...

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Football the glue to Zellner family bond

For Derek Zellner, the past nine years have given him an opportunity that he and his dad never got to experience together.

He has been able to watch his sons, Wyatt and Cooper, on the Gilbert High sidelines as a father and coach.

“I value this opportunity more than anyone knows because I never got to make that strong connection with my dad through football,” Zellner said.

When Zellner was 9 years old, his family moved from Colorado to Arizona. Shortly after, his father fell ill and passed away at the age of 31. 

He emphasized the bond that football creates with his family.

“I use football to connect with Wyatt and Cooper,” Zellner said. “Fo...

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Highland athletics biggest fear now contact tracing

As summer camp came to an end, the chance of seeing Highland athletes back in action for the fall season was uncertain. 

“We were all optimistic about fall sports and we had all the protocols set down to return,” Highland Athletic Director Brandon Larson said. “The closer we got and when the numbers spiked in July, that’s when the nervousness started to kick in.”

Over the summer, Larson worked with other Gilbert Public Schools athletic directors to establish policies and protocols for the fall season. Their group effort has paid off, giving the Gilbert district games to play.

Now having concluded the season, the Highland Hawks football team has played every scheduled game. ...

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