Alleged Football Recruiting Foul On Other Shoe

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Just when it looked like the situation in the White Mountains involving Show Low High School’s allegations that Blue Ridge was recruiting last year’s 2A football Player of the Year Jordan Morgan couldn’t get any more bizarre, the gridiron state of affairs turned even more wacky.

In mid-September, Show Low High School athletic director Nathan Richardson — the same school official who alerted the Arizona Interscholastic Association that a BRHS coach might have been recruiting Morgan — filed a report that Show Low was the school that violated the association’s recruiting rule.

Making the admission even more madcap is that it came one day before the AIA held the hearing over Blue Ridge’s alleged recruiting of Morgan.

The AIA ruled that Blue Ridge coaches had not recruited the former Chandler Valley Christian star and he was allowed to play the following Friday for the Yellow Jackets.

According to reports, Show Low school board president Paul Wyatt is the man who violated the AIA recruiting rule when he offered Bill Morgan, Jordan’s father, a lot on which to put his mobile home in Show Low and to try and help Bill Morgan’s wife, Carla, find a job in the area.

Bill Morgan formerly coached at SLHS and is a friend of Wyatt.

Wyatt apparently has denied trying trying to recruit Jordan Morgan, but said he was trying to help out the family.

Nonetheless, the contact between Bill Morgan and Wyatt violated the AIA rule that states no employee of a high school district can engage in acts of recruitment either directly or through the athlete’s parents.

Show Low Superintendent Kevin Brackney investigated the incident and reported his findings of a violation to the AIA.

He also wrote a letter of reprimand to Wyatt.

The AIA executive board will discuss the violation on Oct. 18 and could put the school’s football program on probation.

However, since Show Low reported itself, which is an AIA mandate, the executive board might opt for lesser consequences.

Gone riding

Among the most eagerly anticipated events on the Pine-Strawberry calendar is the annual Justice McNeeley poker run and benefit.

This year’s run will be held Oct. 16 beginning with a 9 a.m. registration for the poker run, which begins one hour later. All the festivities will be held at the Rimside Grill, located south of Beeline Highway on the south side of Pine.

A live band, Whiskey Creek, will begin performing at 1 p.m. The auction, raffles and giveaways will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Although the prize and raffle list is still being finalized, past years’ prizes included a load of granite donated by a local building supplier, restaurant gift certificates, a four-wheel alignment from a tire shop, fishing poles, a gift certificate to a Pine antique store, storage shed rentals, a weekend at a luxury time share and more.

A single elimination horseshoe tournament is also expected to be a highlight, with winners receiving prizes. The tournament will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The entry fee for horseshoes and the quad run is $10 each.

All proceeds benefit the McNeeley Foundation, which has a goal to help boys and girls in need.

Since the inception of the benefit five years ago, the fund has doled out more than $35,000 to help pay the medical expenses of needy Rim Country children.

“Dental, hearing, glasses, orthotics — anything they need, we try to provide,” said Justice McNeeley Fund chairman Chuck Collins. “We are a 501-3c nonprofit organization and all our employees are non-paid volunteers.”

In past years, upwards of 100 riders have turned out aboard a variety of ATVs, motorcycles, OHVs and side-by-sides.

Some are customized high-dollar 800 cc rigs loaded with every accessory available. Some are older, smaller, less powerful models suitable only for a single rider.

All the rigs, however, have one thing in common — they are outfitted with coolers and ice chests filled with plenty of refreshing beverages for the journey.

During the ride — which gets off to a rip-roaring start at the Rimside Grill and travels to the Twin Buttes area before wrapping up back at the original starting line — there will be five stops where participants will receive a single playing card.

At the conclusion of the event, the entrants with the two best poker hands will be awarded prizes.

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