Payson High School senior Jimbo Armstrong was one of the state's football players under consideration for selection to The Arizona Republic's All-Arizona team. Being chosen is one of the most prestigious honors a prep player can receive since the selections are for all-classifications 1A through 5A.
Although Armstrong, an inside linebacker, didn't make either the first or second team defense, he was named among the "Best of the Rest." That in itself is a huge honor for a player from a small Class 3A school.
On the first and second All-Arizona offensive and defensive teams, there was only one player chosen from the 3A ranks -- Coolidge's Lee Wheeler. The youngster is also being recruited by several Division 1A universities and is considered one of the best all-around athletes to ever come out of the school.
The absence of small school athletes on the All-Arizona teams is nothing new -- few ever are selected regardless of their abilities.
A fact of football life in Arizona is the big school athletes receive most of the statewide recognition.
However, on the "Best of the Rest" team with Armstrong were some very talented players including record-setting quarterback John Rattay of Tempe Desert Vista who is bound for the University of Tennessee.
Best of the Rest players local fans might recognize include Jeff Adams (Show Low), Aaron Heap (St. Johns), Adam Moro (Blue Ridge), Mike Smith (Coolidge) and Dirk Walker (Cactus Shadows).
Show Low's Bill Morgan was named the 1A-3A Coach of the Year for leading the Cougars to their first state championship. Blue Ridge running back Charles Parkinson was tapped the 1A-3A Player of the Year.
If the selection of the POY was left up to Longhorn fans, Parkinson would probably have been their choice. In the Yellow Jacket's 49-7 pounding of Payson last season, he shredded the Horn defense for 290 yards on 18 carries.
Dogs showcase star
Word from the Pepsi-Cola Holiday Basketball Tournament in Flagstaff is the Winslow Bulldog line-up sports a player that is wowing the fans with his hardwood abilities.
After each game, Stephen Garnett faces a bevy of autograph seekers who apparently believe he'll someday be a superstar on the next level.
Garnett has already signed a letter of intent to play at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. One coach who had just watched Garnett run rampant said the Lumberjacks picked up a real steal in signing the WHS senior. In Winslow's 75-44 tournament victory over Flagstaff Coconino, Garnett scored a team-high 23 points. That came one evening after the Bulldogs scored 121 points in a win over Peoria Centennial.
In past years, the Longhorn boy's team played in the Flagstaff tournament but this year opted out and instead will compete in a post-Christmas tournament in Camp Verde.