Soccer Teams To Meet New Foes

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Payson High School's soccer teams will not be participating in the East Division as will the other sports teams at Payson High School.


Rather, Longhorn coach Dave Greiner's boys and coach Linda Gibson's girls will be members of the Rim Region, moving from the Mountain Region where the teams competed last season.


While the names-- East Division and Rim Region-- may be different, the schools that comprise the two are basically the same.


Both sport Show Low, Round Valley, St. Johns, Blue Ridge, Snowflake, Alchesay, Holbrook and Payson as members.


After scouring the team's 1999 schedule, Greiner said life in the new region could be a doubled-edged sword.


Last year, the Mountain Region produced the two state finalists -- Chino Valley and Sedona. The region also sported three of the top five teams in the state: CV, Sedona and Payson. But there were also several weak sisters such as Pinon, Grand Canyon and Ash Fork.


Conversely, the Rim didn't produce any of the state finalists, but featured well-rounded play in which all the teams were highly competitive.


"Blue Ridge and Show Low are always tough, Round Valley is good and St. Johns is improving," Greiner said.


The balance of the Rim Region means the Longhorns will have to be at their best -- week-in and week-out --to be successful, the coach predicts.


In addition to a strong regular season schedule, the boys' team will play in two tournaments that appear to be formidable. On Sept. 10-11 the Horns travel to Chino Valley for a 12-team shootout that Greiner predicts will test the conditioning and mettle of the Longhorns.


On Oct. 1 and 2, the team travels to Tucson for another 12-team affair against southern Arizona competition the Longhorns won't see during the course of the regular campaign.


With preseason practices underway each evening at Rumsey Park, both the boys' and girls' teams are prepping for season openers to be played Sept. 1 in Eagar against Round Valley High School.

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