Few Postseason Honors Likely For Phs Football

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In prep football circles, post-season individual honors are traditionally afforded to players on the most successful teams.

Voting coaches reason that the best teams usually have most of the best players.

That line of thinking could make it tough for Payson High School football coach Mike Wheelis to convince fellow coaches to vote more than a handful of his players to the All-East region team when it is selected Nov. 7.

As the East Region's fifth-place finisher in the final standings, the Longhorns (5-4 overall, 3-3 in the East) probably won't sport the voting power of rivals Blue Ridge, Show Low, Round Valley and Snowflake.

Region champion Blue Ridge, which finished undefeated and top ranked, undoubtedly will have a bevy of players chosen to the celestial team as will regional runner-up Show Low. As the third- and fourth-place finishers, Round Valley and Snowflake are also in a position to have several athletes tapped.

The good news in the voting for Longhorn players is that the team's strong late showing against both Blue Ridge and Show Low could bode well for them once the voting begins.

All-Star selection is a fickle science, but some of the PHS players who could be strong candidates for post-season honors could include Sterling White, Levi Armstrong, Austin Wilbanks, Caleb Miller and Reed Hatch.

White, a defensive tackle, appears to be a logical choice based on the fact opposing coaches chose to double team him most of the season. He also could be selected as an offensive tackle.

White's chief competition for lineman honors will be Show Low's Scott Croft who was a standoutin the White Mountain region last season as a sophmore.

Armstrong was Payson's offensive statistical leader all season, finishing first in all purpose yards (898), yards from scrimmage (623), punt returns (18 for 161 yards) and rushing (130 for 753 yards).

He was also second in kick returns (7 for 255 yards) and scoring (30 points).

But, the bad news for Armstrong's selection is that the East sported a number of talented athletes at his running back position, including Cory Austin of Round Valley and Blue Ridge's Kenley Ries and Tyler Maxwell.

Wilbanks, Miller and Hatch stalwarts in the Horns' 52 defense all turned in workman-like performances during the campaign but whether their efforts were sufficient enough to impress opposing coaches won't be known until after the coach's voting.

One of the strongest candidates for defensive honors will be Blue Ridge linebacker Adam Muro, head coach Paul Moro's son.

A junior, Adam Moro earned several postseason honors last season.

In addition to All-East honors, several of the Payson players will also be candidates for All-State and Arizona Coaches Association All-Star accolades when they are doled out in early December.

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