Payson High School football coach Steve Saben has been tight-lipped about which Longhorn players have been selected to receive All-East honors.
He says he prefers to wait to make those announcements until the team’s annual awards ceremony slated for 6 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Mazatzal Casino
A good bet, however, is that Longhorn running back Waylon Pettet is in line to receive a fistful of awards possibly be named the East’s Offensive Player of the Year.
After the banner season he turned in, it would be tough for regional coaches to look past Pettet as the best player in the East.
But the Horn scat back is not a shoo-in. The region featured several other exceptional players including Snowflake signal caller Porter Caldwell who led the Lobos to the state semifinals before being eliminated 40-38 by Coolidge.
Payson was ousted in the first round of the state tournament by Blue Ridge.
Because All-East voting is based on a player’s accomplishments during the regular season, the fact Caldwell led his team deeper into the tournament than the Longhorns advanced should not weigh against Pettet’s chances.
Pettet’s case for becoming a candidate for player of the year, or at least a first-teamer, rests in the statistics he compiled.
In 10 games, he rushed for 1,270 yards on 128 carries and scored 12 touchdowns. His 8.6-yards-per-carry average is among the best in the state. Throughout the campaign, he also proved himself a capable receiver hauling in 22 pass receptions for 405 yards and five TDs.
If voting coaches take into account special teams’ play, they’ll likely be influenced by the fact Pettet returned 14 kickoffs for 410 yards and two touchdowns.
All season, Pettet’s offensive exploits kept opposing defensive coordinators burning the midnight oil trying to design schemes to slow him.
Payson also should have several other players in line to receive postseason honors at tomorrow’s festivities, including Mike Barr, Tyler Williams, Jake Swartwood, Derek Daniels, George Coleman and Layton Howell.
At the awards presentations, the Horn team will be celebrating a campaign in which the team finished with a 6-4 record and in fourth place in the final standings. Oddly enough, the highlight of the season might have occurred in the very first game when the Horns beat St. Johns 20-16.
After that loss, the Redskins went on to win 11 straight games.
Saturday in Tempe, coach Mike Morgan’s Skins beat North West Community Christian 28-7 to win the Class 2A state championship.
In the 3A championship game also in Tempe, Globe beat Coolidge 34-19.