Rivals to Teammates: Chandler, AZ Productive At The Opening


The Chandler Wolves and Hamilton Huskies are one of the top rivalries in Arizona. Both have produced their fair share of collegiate talent, and the duo has combined for seven of the last 11 state championships in the highest division in the state.

When this year’s Elite 11 finals came around, Hamilton quarterback Tyler Shough may have had a surprising choice for his personal receiver: Chandler wide receiver Gunner Romney.

Romney won the wide receiver MVP at the Oakland regional of The Opening but hadn’t earned an invite to the finals yet. If Shough placed in the top-12 at the Elite 11 Final, he would earn an invite to Beaverton.

It turns out Shough did exactly that, and Romney won the wide receiver MVP at the Elite 11 Finals, earning an invite as well.

So two rivals were headed to The Opening, but it didn’t stop there. Each quarterback has a say in which receivers will join their team at the finals at Nike Headquarters.

Shough requested Romney.

And thus rivals became teammates.


“It’s huge to get a big recruit and quarterback, and how good he is, to be able to respect you, and to want you like that,” Romney said. “It’s a great experience and I’m super thankful for it.”

Shough has already made his college commitment to the University of North Carolina and has been one of the fastest risers in this recruiting class after picking up some big offers and a strong performance at the Elite 11. Romney has his college decision down to BYU, Utah and Arizona State and hopes to have his mind made up in the coming weeks.

Together, the duo helped bring Team Untouchable to The Opening semifinals.

“Gunner was the dagger for us,” Shough said on Monday. “He would come in late or step up and make big plays for us. He’s just been that guy the whole weekend. We had a lot of good guys around us. The coaches called some really good plays and we had some good playmakers, so we had a lot of fun.”

The Opening rosters featured Romney, Shough and North Canyon wide receiver Solomon Enis, who’s team won the tournament, putting Arizona in the national spotlight at Nike Headquarters.

“I think we’re going up,” Romney said. “Arizona’s going to be huge in the next couple years, it’s only getting better. It’s already getting super competitive. More and more athletes are starting to get noticed and getting recruited. Arizona’s definitely on the rise.”

And when it comes to college coaches scouring the state for potential recruits, Arizona Avenue may be a good place to start.

“Everyone asks, ‘Where are you from? Where are you from?’ and you say, ‘Chandler, Arizona’ and they’re like ‘Alright, you guys are good.’ So it’s pretty cool to say that you’re from there, and I thought we represented it well,” Shough said.

When They Come Back to Rivals

Shough and Romney donned the blue and orange this weekend on Team Untouchable, but they will face off when Chandler and Hamilton play on October 27th to wrap up the regular season. 

Gunner Romney 1

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