Hail To The Unsung Heroes Of The Gridiron

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Locker room references to offensive lineman are often unflattering clichthat leave the uninitiated to football culture cringing.

Among the nicknames are grunts, wide bodies, Fat Alberts, hogs and others.

But every coach understands the outcome of the game is decided in the trenches where the linemen battle away game time with only a smidgen of recognition.

One of the most unheralded linemen-- until he was named All-Central Division First Team last week -- is Payson High right guard Ty Hulbert.

At 5 foot, 8 inches, 185 pounds, it's tough to spot him in the mass of humanity that wages Friday night war on the line of scrimmage.

Since his playing days on the Payson Bears, into Rim Country Middle School and through high school, Ty has shown up at game time, played his heart out and walked off the field without much acknowledgment for a job well done.

For Ty and other linemen like him, prep football has been a case of fans overlooking them, sports writers neglecting them and teammates taking them for granted.

Ty is a lunch pail-carrying, hard-nosed worker that every coach worth his salt loves to have on his roster. He and others like him are the foundation of a successful team.

His ego doesn't yell out for constant nurturing with pats on the back, a fist-full of trophies and praise from teammates.

All it takes to motivate youngsters like Ty is the opportunity to realize a sense of accomplishment for a job well done.

No headlines, no helmet decals, no homecoming royalty honors are needed.

Sure, he might be the off-the-wall jokester or prankster of his class, but when it comes to crunch time, guess who will be at the forefront providing the down and dirty work it takes to succeed?

In last year's state quarterfinal lost to Blue Ridge, Payson suffered greatly on two errant long snaps on punts which turned the tide in favor of the Yellow Jackets.

Who was there handing the crucial long-snapping duties when Payson ended Blue Ridge's state record winning streak Nov. 28?

Ty did with an almost stoical sense of nonchalance.

"Coaches kept telling me to relax. Heck, I was relaxed," he said as if he didn't understand the enormous responsibilities of the position.

Young men like Ty will always steadfastly perform the yeoman-like duties and pick up the pieces when called upon. When the assignment is accomplished, they ask little in return.

A dash of satisfaction will do.
Ty is the son of Brian and Roxanne Hulbert of Payson.

Wanted!
Tickets desperately needed for the Dec. 31 to Jan. 2 package trip to Pasadena, Ca. for the Arizona vs. Wisconsin Rose Bowl game. The trip tickets, priced from $299 to $549 were prominently advertised in the Dec. 6 edition of The Arizona Republic. The packages are "sold and hosted by U. of A. Alumni."

On the BR front
Apparently the Arizona Interscholastic Association is counting Blue Ridge's 64-game winning streak as only 63.

The streak, which was broken Nov. 28 by the Payson Longhorns in a 29-20 state championship game at Mesa College, included a forfeit victory midway through this season over Tuba City.

It seems officials at the reservation school refused to play the game declaring their playing field too wet due to recent rains.

Blue Ridge protested and wanted to play the game at a neutral half-way point but Tuba still declined.

Blue Ridge, disappointed at not playing, went ahead and counted the game as a forfeit victory.

It wasn't a forfeit according to AIA officials who apparently determined it a no contest.

Wow, is that the strangest ruling in the history of Arizona high school football?

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