Fall Classic Oct. 19, 20 In Tonto Apache Gym


Payson attorney Steve Rensch will host the On the Rim Fall Classic youth basketball tournament Oct. 19 and 20 in the Tonto Apache gymnasium.

The inaugural tournament is an off-shoot of the Copper State Jam tournament that draws 50-plus youth teams to Payson each January.

In both tournaments, players must be 14 years old and under.

Representing Payson in this weekend's tournament will be the Panthers boys team coached by Rory Huff.

Most of the players are Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade students.

Miles Huff, a member of the Panther team, says the squad plans to play in several other youth tournaments before the White Mountain League middle school/junior high basketball season opens in early January.

In the WML campaign, Rory Huff is expected to coach the RCMS eighth graders.

In the fall classic, Rensch expects seven other teams from around the state to join the Panthers.

Games will be played in 14-minute halves with a stopped clock.

For more information, call Rensch at (928) 478-0357.

Record book hits stands

Arizona High School prep sports guru and Arizona Interscholastic Association public information officer Barry Sollenberger has published a 72-page Arizona High School Football Record book that features individual/team records and a list of past state championships.

Thumbing through the books will stir the memories of ex-players and old coaches.

There are some great small-town players who continue to hold records including Show Low's Willy Nikolaus, Eloy Santa Cruz's Paul Ray Powell, Aqua Fria's Mike Bowling and Coolidge's Vince Smith.

Bowling, who played basketball at the University of Southern California and Arizona State, is the nephew of Payson High School coach Bill Bowling.

The one surprise was that former Payson High School super star Tom Fruth holds no rushing or scoring marks. In the early '80s, Fruth was one of the most accomplished running backs in the state and piled up yardage at a numbing rate. Most of the standards he set were broken in the mid-90s by Blue Ridge Yellow Jacket star Scooter Sprotte. After graduating from Blue Ridge, Sprotte went on to play for the University of Arizona.

Sprotte hold records for most yardage in a season (2,961 in 1994), most rushing yards in a career (5,069 from 1992 to 1994) and most touchdowns in a season (38 in 1994).

Over the past two decades, the Longhorns have fielded some highly successful teams, including two state champions, but oddly enough no Payson players currently hold Arizona High School football records.

In the listing of 5A record holders, many of the players have gone on to fine college and pro careers. Among them are Bobby Wade, Terrell Suggs, Mario Bates, Mike Mitchell, John Mistler and Tim Rattay.

To purchase Sollenberger's book, log on to www.phoenixmetrofootball.com.

For those interested in high school track and field, Sollenberger compiled a record book last March. It contains Top 10 records in all the prep events including sprints, jumps, throws and relays. Payson has representatives in that book including Darren Reid, Todd Reid, Nicole Engstrom, Bo Althoff and Mark Hochstetler.

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