East Valley Tribune: Fox Sports Arizona

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  • Mesa youth flag football league kicks off fall season

    A children’s flag football league in Mesa kicked off its fall season Saturday and more kids than ever are playing.Some five years ago, Chad Robinson started Prime Time Athletics in Arizona with about 95 kids and a vision to build a better youth football league. Today, Prime Time consists of a collection of youth flag football leagues across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Missouri, with about 700 kids playing in the original location.Like the overall Prime Time Athletics organization, its North Mesa league is growing by leaps and bounds. Nearly 250 kids are signed up to play on 29 teams in Mesa this fall.Prime Time, in partnership with the NFL’s Play 60 program, places kids into five divisions by age, from 5 to 15 years old, and simulates league play through the wearing of NFL team jerseys.Earlier this year, Mike Schlund and Lisa Antestenis purchased the North Mesa league.“The main part of it is … a competitive atmosphere but in a noncompetitive environment,” Schlund said, who is the league co-owner.

  • Tempe football coach suspended for praying

    A Tempe school football coach must miss his team's game Friday as part of a punishment for praying with his players.Tom Brittain is serving the second week of a two-game suspension from his job as coach at Tempe Preparatory Academy.Headmaster David Baum says Brittain instructed a player to lead the team in prayer after they won a game.Baum says staff cannot appear to condone religion to students on behalf of the state-funded charter school's behalf.Some students hung a sign in support of Brittain at the school's homecoming game last week.Some parents have expressed outrage at Baum's decision. But others say the school is not a religious institution and that Brittain violated school policy.

  • Gilbert High coach investigation stemmed from claim he misused furniture funds

    The brief investigation that led to Gilbert High School football coach Tim Rutt’s placement on administrative leave stemmed from an accusation he embezzled funds designated for furniture.According to a report from the Gilbert Police Department, the accusation came from Kim Calahan, who was the president of the school’s Tiger Touchdown Club — a booster club that supports the team. Calahan stated she believed Rutt, who was later cleared of the accusations by the department, embezzled $2,000 dedicated to purchase new furniture for his office and instead purchased furniture for his home. She claimed a player told her several team members went to Rutt’s home to move his old furniture to the high school office.The report states Calahan and booster members Lori Runge and Jennifer Baragar approached school athletic director Dan Haasch with the accusation on Aug. 8, and the district subsequently put Rutt on leave on Aug. 14. Calahan, Runge and Baragar all resigned from the booster club shortly thereafter.An ensuing police investigation concluded on Aug. 26 with the determination that Rutt did not commit a crime, although the Gilbert Public Schools district kept Rutt on paid leave in order to complete its own investigation into the allegations, said District Chief of Staff Alex Nardone in a previous interview. Rutt was ultimately brought back as a teacher and as the team’s head coach on Sept. 3; the team lost to Desert Ridge 45-15 in his first game, although it beat Mesquite 27-14 the week prior.Rutt’s reinstatement with the Tigers came a few days after the team’s offensive coordinator, Max Hall, was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting and possession of narcotics on Aug. 30. In the police report of the incident, Hall, who was a quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals and Mountain View High School in Mesa, admitted to using cocaine the morning of his arrest and was found with cocaine, two hypodermic needles, a metal spoon and a lighter at the time of his arrest.In a statement released on Sept. 5, Nardone emphasized Hall was not a certified staff member for the district, stated Hall “will not be returning to Gilbert High School.”

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