There's A New Dr. Anderson In Town

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Dr. Eric Anderson, who recently joined forces with his father Dr. Scott Anderson to form the only father/son medical team in the Rim country, was once one of Payson's most talented high school athletes.

As an all-state football player, state champion wrestler and hard-nosed middle distance track and field runner, he possessed God-given talents that thanks to his strong work ethic didn't go to waste.

In 1987 a football season in which the West Division champion Horns finished 10-2 Eric successfully pulled off one of the most remarkable double-duty performances in prep football.

Then a senior, Eric was called upon to fill in as guard due to the graduation the previous spring of almost the entire starting "O" line.

Being a 160-pound guard playing against opponents weighing 40 to 50 pounds more would be a challenge for any athlete, but Eric did more.

Coaches also asked him to play in the defensive backfield at both corner and safety.

An offensive guard doubling as a D-back in varsity football occurs about as often as Buck Showalter smiles.

Eric's strange dual roles rattled many opposing coaches into believing he couldn't possibly have the quickness or athletic ability to cover speedy wide receivers.

But, after seeing pass attempts going Eric's way picked off and backs run down from behind, opposing offensive coordinators quickly backed away from testing his defensive abilities.

One of the real treats that year was watching opposing coaches and players stare in disbelief when an offensive lineman's number (68) lined up deep in the defensive backfield.

Following a 30-0 regular season-ending win over Bradshaw Mountain, a Bears coach approached the Horn bench and spewed, "I've been coaching 20 years and have never seen a 60s number in the backfield."

As an offensive guard, Eric was undersized but thrived on technique and balance he learned as a division and state championship wrestler.

Watching Eric practice football, it was quickly evident he was one of a small handful of athletes blessed with the ability to play both guard and D-back positions well.

Equally as impressive as his ability, was the attitude he brought to the game. When asked to play the non-glamorous position of guard the O line was then called the "Bruise Brothers" he accepted the challenge without a whimper saying it was in the best interest of the team.

At the conclusion of the season, Eric was nominated to be Arizona's high school player of the year and was on just about everyone's postseason honors lists.

He capped his high school career that spring as homecoming king, class officer, honor student and college scholarship winner.

More than a decade has passed since his graduation from PHS, and Eric is now a dedicated husband, father and successful dentist who sports the classy moniker Dr. Eric Anderson.

But to many of the old football war horses in Payson, the doctor will always be #68 the Longhorns' guard in the backfield.

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