Payson players make state's "best of" list
Prep football guru Barry Sollenberger's 2000 Metro Phoenix Football magazine has hit the newsstands and Payson is one of just three Class 3A schools to be mentioned in it.
Sollenberger sums up his coverage of the Longhorns by writing, "Payson looks to again be strong in what might be the best 3A (region) in the state the East."
The author also hits on the fact the Horns lineup features only eight returning lettermen. Among those letter-winners, he lists Levi Armstrong and Dusty Brockett as Payson's best players.
The strength of the team, according to Sollenberger, is the secondary where Caleb Miller, Steve Williamson, Scotty Garduno, O.J. Siebert and Brockett play.
Defensive end Sterling White and linebacker Cory McRae also drew plaudits from the author.
Sollenberger also has compiled "Northern Arizona's Best" by positions list. Brockett is tapped as a top-notch back and Armstrong as one of the area's best linebackers.
Defending state champion Show Low had three players tapped to Sollenberger's Northern Arizona Best list Matt Belshe, Glen Jackson and Scott Croff.
Blue Ridge players on the prestigious list include linebacker Adam Moro, the coach's son, and running back Tyler Maxwell.
Snowflake, once a perennial football power, did not have a player chosen to the honors list.
There are football fans around the Rim country including former Payson High coach Jim Beall who are already chomping at the bit to attend a unique triple-header football shoot out to be played Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Round Valley High School dome in Eagar/Springerville.
Dubbed the Round Valley Classic, the event kicks off at 2 p.m. with Bourgade Catholic taking on Maricopa. Action continues at 5 p.m. when coach Tim McBurney's Tempe Buffs challenge Show Low.
The trifecta wraps up at 8 p.m. with Eastern Arizona's biggest football rivalry of the season Round Valley versus St. Johns.
You can bet there will be only a handful of residents in St. Johns Saturday evening ... they'll all be in Eagar hoping their beloved Redskins can put on old fashioned butt-whippin' on the Elks.
But the real fun for some fans might be the Tempe versus Show Low battle. Show Low returns a loaded veteran team that is expected to easily win the 3A championship.
Two-way lineman Scott Croff is rated by Street & Smith as one of the best at his position in the Western United States.
Tempe has the advantage of being a 4A school, but you can bet McBurney won't let his team look past the talented Cougars.
The Buff coach has at his disposal one of the state's best spilt ends in Lynzell Jackson who is a Street & Smith national top-50 pick.
Tempe and Show Low have never played one another in a regular season game but you can wager this clash is going to turn into a barn-burner.