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Knights sign to continue football careers together

Football players signing
At first glance, the set up for three Higley Knights to make official their football commitments appeared just as it had for earlier signings in the year: students and their families smiling and ready to make public statements about their future colleges.

But the T-shirts worn by the three told a different story; or, more accurately, the same story.


Quarterback Mason Crossland, wide receiver Chris Crescione and linebacker Christian Deltenre will all play for Nebraska’s Hastings College next year.

Connecting the dots on how the three players made the decision isn’t hard to do: they enjoy playing with one another. Crossland and Crescione have played side-by-side since they were young boys on the flag football field. All three finished this year as state semi-finalists for Higley High.

But there’s another connection that goes back before the teens were Knights, even before their coach – Eddy Zubey – was a Higley Knight.

Years back, Zubey coached at Tempe’s McClintock High School alongside now Williams Field Head Coach Steve Campbell. During that time, a player named Tyler Hinchey competed as a linebacker for the pair.

Today, Hinchey is in his fifth year as an assistant coach at Hastings College.

Hastings competes in the NAIA. The team opens the 2017 season at University of Jamestown in North Dakota. The schedule will take these three desert boys to the cold football fields of Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa, as well as Nebraska.

The Knights said they are ready.

Crossland visited the campus and said, “It just felt like home.”

“I will have a chance to go in and compete right away for a spot. When I was there for a visit, I felt like I fit in,” he said.

Crossland plans to study exercise sports science while Deltenre said he wants to double major in criminal justice and agriculture science.

“They have a really good football program and a good educational program,” Deltenre said.

Crescione said he is undecided about his studies, but knew right away where he wanted to go.

“It’s where Mason’s going and we’ve played together since we were 9,” he said.
“It’s really surreal right now,” Deltenre said as he looked around the room.

With just three months of senior year and five months until they report to Nebraska, there’s plenty of time to let it all soak in.

“Hastings is getting probably three of our best players off of last year’s team,” Zubey said. “All three have been major contributors to the program’s success in recent years. I expect all three of these young men to flourish at Hastings.”