A state tournament berth is definitely in the future of the Longhorn boys soccer team.
But, just what seed the team will take into the postseason showdown won't be known until tomorrow.
That's when league leading St. Johns visits Rumsey Park for a 5:30 p.m. showdown that will go a long way toward deciding the regional championship.
If the Horns can edge past the unbeaten Redskins, the team would claim at least a top-two berth into the state meet when it begins Oct. 26 in Tucson.
Because top teams are seeded against lower finishing schools, earning a first or second berth is a definite advantage in post-season play.
The Horns, now sporting 4-2 regional credentials (11-6-2 overall), enter the game fresh off twin wins over regional rivals Round Valley and Snowflake
Because only games played on Wednesday are counted in the region standings, the Oct. 13 (Saturday) victory over visiting Snowflake did not improve the Horns' regional showing.
The victory over Round Valley (Oct. 10 in Eagar) did count in the standings.
Following the win over the homestanding Elks, PHS coach Roger Wholly lauded the team's defense.
The defensive players, he said, "are not mentioned because they don't get to attack the opponent's goal very often ... but our defense was fantastic."
Among the defenders drawing praise were Nick Sanders, Kyle Hubbard, Andrew Karlowski, Randy Perham, Darryl LeSeuer and Lucas Schmidt. Sanders played goalie, Hubbard held down the sweeper position and Karlowski manned the stopper slot. Perham, LeSeuer and Schmidt were on the flanks, or wings.
The coach also praised the offense for posting three goals.
The opening score, he said, came in the first three minutes of play on a pass from Travis Sanders to Gibby Orozco.
The Horns upped the count to 2-0 when Sanders dribbled through two RV players to score from the top of the box, Wholly said.
Later in the half, Orozco scored his second goal of the game on a pass from PHS foreign exchange student Eike Radlow.
In the second half, neither team was able to score.
In the win over homestanding Snowflake, Wholly experimented with his front line rotating players from position to position, trying to find out where each one could best contribute to the team effort.
Sporting the new front-line look, Payson picked up a goal in the first minute of play from Karlowski who was playing right wing for the first time this season. About five minutes later, Radlow scored twice to up the Horn lead to 3-0. By halftime, the Horns had increased the cushion to 5-0 on goals from Trevor LaHaye and Daniel Wing.
The Lobos tallied the only goal early in the second half when a Snowflake kick got past Karlowski who had been moved to goalie from right win.
Payson rebounded with goals by Brian Etter, Wing and Nick Sanders.
The Horns prepared early this week for the huge showdown against St. Johns. The varsity game will be preceded by a jayvee clash at 3:30 p.m.