Four Longhorns Will Play As State North-South All-Stars

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The fruits of an undefeated state championship season keep rolling in for the members of the Payson High School Longhorn football team.

Among the rewards are four player berths in the Arizona Coaches' Association North vs. South All-Star game to be played Saturday, June 19 on the campus of Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher.

Traditionally, high school teams pick up one or two all-star slots and sometimes three. But four all-stars on one team is a rarity.

PHS seniors Hunter Walden, Ryan Lorentz, Jordan Sieverson and Cable Morris were voted to the North All-Star team by state coaches. Due to a knee injury incurred during the basketball season, Walden -- a quarterback in football --recently opted not to participate.

Josh Barnhart, an alternate in the all-star voting, will replace Walden on the North roster.

Representing Payson on the North coaching staff will be Horn offensive coordinator Curt LeBlanc. He'll assist head all-star coach Don Klosterich of San Pasquel. Also coaching the North will be Gary Galante of Arizona Boys Ranch and Superior's Brian Munoz.

The all-star coaching berth is LeBlanc's second successive appointment. Last year, he served as an assistant when the entire Longhorn staff coached the North team.

LeBlanc said he's looking forward to coaching in the all-star game because it will give him one last opportunity to work with the four Payson seniors.

"I've had them since they were freshmen," he said.

The players
As a wing back and flanker on the PHS varsity the past two seasons, Barnhart was an adept receiver who could also run reverses and counters when needed. His blocking skills were also a big reason the Horn offense ran rampant most of the season. As a punter and kicker he was one of the division's best.

LeBlanc says Barnhart "had his best games in the post season, especially against Show Low."

Lorentz, an inside linebacker in the Horns 5-2 defensive scheme, was one of the team's top tacklers. In addition to the all-star berth, Lorentz received all-division honors at season's end.

With Lorentz set to play at Arizona Western College, LeBlanc said he's "looking forward to see how he does on the next level."

LeBlanc also characterized Lorentz as "a fun player to coach."

Sieverson, an offensive tackle, was one of the lead blockers in the Horns' power option offense. His up-front, grind-em'-out efforts enabled Walden and the Horns' stable of running backs to run unchecked much of the season.

During Sieverson's senior season he returned to the Horn fold "twice the player he was earlier," LeBlanc said.

As a fullback-tailback, Morris was a rough-and-tumble runner who wasn't afraid to stick his nose into a pile of angry defenders. During his senior season, Morris developed a reputation as one of the best blocking backs in the state.

In the all-star voting, LeBlanc said, many of the coaches in other conferences threw their support behind Morris because they'd heard of his feats.

"He was our strongest athlete two years in a row, too," the coach added.

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