Five senior players and possibly one other from the 1998 Class 3A Arizona State champion Payson Longhorn football team will be participating in the Arizona Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game.
The celestial clash will be contested June 18 on the campus of Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher.
Chosen from Payson in a voting of ACA members held last week at Tempe Corona del Sol were Hunter Walden, Ryan Lorentz, Jordan Sieverson and Cable Morris.
Josh Barnhart was selected as a first alternate. Traditionally, several alternates have been picked up the week prior to the game when players can't participate due to summer employment, college responsibilities or other matters.
"(Barnhart) has a good chance to play," said PHS assistant coach Jack Morris, an all-star coach in 1997. "Last year we had about 12 alternates."
The Payson players will be members of the South All-Star team that will be coached by Don Klosterich of San Pasquel.
Walden was chosen to the team as a quarterback, Lorentz a linebacker, Sieverson on the offensive line and Morris as a running back. Barnhart is a multi-talented receiver who can kick, punt and play in the defensive back field when called upon.
In addition to earning ACA all-star honors, Walden -- the Horns starting signal caller the past three years -- was named Sunday to the Arizona Republic's All-Arizona First Team.
Ironically, Walden was not chosen as a quarterback but rather as a defensive back -- a position that he played only sparingly during the past season.
Named All-Arizona honorable mention from Payson were defensive lineman Mike Barker and defensive back Jeremy Hoff.
The ACA all-stars
Walden will take to the summer's celestial clash an impressive list of credentials that fueled the Longhorns to a 13-0 record last season.
Through the airways, he completed 77 of 144 passes for 1,438 yards and 16 touchdowns. On the ground, he ran 89 times for 485 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Walden attributes his stellar season to the play of his offensive line that was anchored by Sieverson -- a 6-foot, 220-pound tackle.
Throughout the campaign, coach Morris lauded Sieverson for being one of the Horns most consistent lineman. His efforts not only helped protect Walden on the drop back passes but also opened holes for the power option running game.
Playing both fullback and tailback, Cable Morris rushed for 628 yards on 136 carries. He scored two touchdowns and had a 4.6-yard-per-carry average despite missing the first four games of the season due to an injury.
Morris has been one of the mainstays of the senior players since the group was participating on Payson teams in the Northern Arizona Youth Football League.
On the South All-Star defense, Lorentz might be tapped to play the same inside linebacker position he held down the past two seasons for the Longhorns.
Last season he was the second leading tackler on the team with 151 take downs. He also contributed four passes broken up, nine hurries, two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
He addition to being chosen an all-star, Lorentz was All-Central Division second team and Class 3A All-State honorable mention.
If Barnhart does indeed play in the star game, he will participate as the Horns leading scorer with 107 points.
As a kicker he booted 39 of 49 conversion attempts and six field goals.
On kickoffs, he averaged a stellar 55.2 yards on 65 attempts. Seventeen of his boots were into the end zone.