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November 22, 2017

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Palo Verde retires jersey of slain athlete

Christopher Privett’s parents return to the football field to accept a No. 70 jersey


Richard Brian

Mike and Barbara Privett hold the jersey of their son, Christopher, a Palo Verde freshman who was shot and killed while walking home in February. The school retired Privett’s jersey during a halftime ceremony Thursday.

Freshman Not Forgotten

Members of the Palo Verde High junior varsity football team Thursday present the parents of Christopher Privett with a retired jersey. They also dedicated the game to his memory. Privett died after being gunned down in a drive-by shooting Feb. 15.

Remembering a teammate

Chaisson Prescott (13) and Tyler Leet (15) hold the jersey of Christopher Privett, a Palo Verde freshman who was shot and killed while walking home in February. The school retired Privett's jersey during a halftime ceremony Thursday. Launch slideshow »
Christopher Privett

Christopher Privett

Until this week, Mike and Barbara Privett hadn’t returned to the football stadium at Palo Verde High School since their son, Christopher, was shot and killed near the school on Feb. 15.

Before his death last year, they had been regular attendees at freshman football games, watching their son play center position. Their return Thursday night was to watch others play in his honor. The junior varsity game against Cheyenne High School was dedicated to his memory.

During halftime, team members and coaches presented the Privetts with a No. 70 black jersey, which was the number Christopher wore.

“It’s a good gesture for the folks to give us the jersey,” Mike Privett said. “It’s something that means a lot to me.”

Dealing with Christopher’s death is still a day-by-day process, Privett said. He said he finds comfort in seeing the football team staying emotionally involved.

“I wish he could be here,” he said. “It’s hard to not see him on the field.”

Junior varsity quarterback Chaisson Prescott presented the Privetts with the jersey and said he felt the deepest regards for the family.

After a crushing 43-14 victory over Cheyenne, Prescott walked off the field happy the game dedicated to Christopher went well.

“This win is for him,” he said.

Prescott and Palo Verde varsity football coach Darwin Rost both said Christopher was a quiet team player -- one who came to practice and worked hard.

“He was a football fan, and we’ll never forget him,” Rost said. “We’ll never use No. 70 as long as I’m coach.”

Principal Dan Phillips said Christopher’s death is something students and staff think about every day.

“It does sting and it never goes away. There’s never a day when the community doesn’t remember Chris Privett,” he said.

Two have been charged with murder in connection with Privett’s death. The trial of Ezekiel Williams, 19, and Gerald Davison, 16, is scheduled to begin Oct. 20.

Jenny Davis can be reached at 990-8921 or [email protected].

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