spotlight

Many football prospects migrating to Pacific Northwest

Tyler Shough. Johnny Johnson III.

They are familiar names to college sports fans in Arizona and Oregon. Johnson, a wide receiver, graduated from Chandler High and made several highlight plays for the Ducks in their 2019 loss to Arizona State. Shough, a product of Hamilton High, also in Chandler, started at quarterback for Oregon in 2020.

And there are going to be more Ducks where they came from.

According to the 247Sports Composite Ratings, which use an algorithm to compile prospect rankings and ratings, three of the top five high school players of the class of 2021 in Arizona, and four of the state’s top 14 this year, have signed with Oregon.

Quarterback T...

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Jorge Chavez’s fast start a tribute to offseason training

Jorge Chavez was dead set on improving his shot heading into his senior season for the Campo Verde boys soccer team. 

On too many occasions as a junior he saw his shots on goals miss the box, sailing wide left, right or over the goal altogether. Campo Verde coach Andrew Guarneri made it a point of emphasis for one of his captains during club season, where he is also Chavez’s coach. 

Now past midway point of the pandemic-delayed 2021 season, the offseason work has paid off.

“Jorge is his own breed, he’s a true finisher, a true forward,” Guarneri said. “He puts 95% of his shots on frame, which forces keepers to make saves. I think he still has a lot to learn, which is somethi...

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Desert Ridge player honored after mom’s death

Desert Ridge senior Joe Kisting stood across the wrestling mat from the Mesa High School wrestling program, not aware of what would happen after the meeting between captains for the dual match between both schools. 

He turned to walk toward his seat along the socially distanced bench area for the Jaguars before he was called back to the center of the mat by Mesa coach David DiDomenico. It was there Kisting was met by his aunt, Becky Senske, who is his late mother’s twin sister. DiDomenico presented a plush toy in a gift bag and hand-drawn poster of the two schools’ mascots fist-bumping. 

She and the rest of the Jackrabbit program signed the poster – drawn by wrestler Amaiya Brown – for Kist...

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Gilbert’s 3 captains share championship mindset

It’s been two years since Gilbert High School’s basketball team stood atop the 5A Conference as champions.

Most players from that championship team, including co-captains Doc Self and Carson Towt, have since moved on to compete at the collegiate level. But three players still remain on the varsity roster, all of which learned from Self and Towt how to become better leaders.

Now having stepped into those leadership roles, senior guard Tampa Scott, senior forward Karter Doucette and junior guard Nikko Pentelute are the ones new players lean upon for direction.

“When someone isn’t doing what we want them to do or in the way we do it, they tell them instead of me,” Gilbert coac...

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Mesquite’s Ty Thompson wins ‘Arizona Heisman’

Ty Thompson, who led Mesquite to two consecutive 4A state championships, capped off his high school football career by winning the 2020 Ed Doherty Award. 

The award, often considered Arizona’s version of the Heisman, is awarded annually to a player who excels on the gridiron. Thompson joins the likes of two-time winners Bijan Robinson and Teddy Ruben, as well as former Perry quarterback Brock Purdy, who won the award in 2017.

“It means the world to me, it’s a huge blessing, a huge honor,” Thompson said. “It’s a testament to everything my coaches and teammates have put in and the hard work they’ve done supporting me. I’m just really thankful.”

Thompson thanked his family and...

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Former EV stars return home for Fiesta Bowl

The 50th rendition of the Fiesta Bowl, the premier annual college football even in Arizona, provided the first-ever meeting between 11th ranked Iowa State of the Big 12 and No. 25 Oregon from the PAC-12.

But while the programs weren’t familiar with one another, some of the players on each team knew their opponents all too well. It was a homecoming of sorts for several Oregon and Iowa State players who were once among the best at their position in high school football across the state.

Headlined by the matchup between Perry alum and Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy and Hamilton alum and Oregon quarterback Tyler Shough, the Cyclones capped off one of the best seasons in program history with...

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