Horns Soccer Heads To State

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It's official, the Longhorn boys now know where and when they will begin pursuit of the school's first state soccer championship.

The only glitch in the state plans is that the players, and coach Roger Wholly, don't know who the opening round opponent will be.

The Horns are slated to open the state tournament at 6 p.m. Oct. 26 at Tucson's Udall Park. The foe is yet to be determined.

According to Wholly, the metro champion could be either Queen Creek or Country Day School. The champion will be crowned when regular season play wraps up later this week.

Neither Metro team is a stranger to the Payson High crew. In the season-opener Sept. 1 at Rumsey Park, the Longhorns ran past Queen Creek 4-0. In the Queen Creek Tournament played Sept. 21 and 22, the Horns dropped a 2-0 decision to Phoenix Country Day.

Although the Horns lost to Country, Wholly said he is convinced his team could now because of more experience and conditioning play on even terms with the Phoenix private school.

The Horns (11-7-2) enter the state tournament as the number-four seed from the East region.

St. Johns will advance as the regional champion and the top seed.

Blue Ridge played its way to the second seed and show advances as number-three. The fifth and final state berth went to the Snowflake Lobos.

The Horns had the opportunity to improve their berth to state Oct. 17 at Rumsey Park against St. Johns.

A victory over the Redskins would have lifted the Horns to a runner-up or bronze-medal regional finish. But the Redskins, who Wholly said is one of the state's best teams, prevailed 4-2 in an afternoon showdown that was delayed after the St. Johns bus broke down near Heber.

The Horns' first goal was chalked up on a head shot by Trevor LaHaye after an assist from Eike Radlow.

Andrew Karlowski tallied the Horns' second goal on a direct kick that sneaked past the St. Johns' goalie.

If the Horns are victorious in the state's opening round, they would advance to quarterfinals Oct. 27 at both Udall Park and St. Gregory school in Tucson.

The state semifinals and finals will be contested Nov. 2 and 3, also in Tucson.

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