As usual, results from Friday evening's Payson vs. Snowflake controlled scrimmage are mixed.
According to assistant coaches Mike Loutzenheiser and Jack Morris, the Longhorns played some facets of the game well, but sputtered in others.
According to Arizona Interscholastic Association guidelines, no scores can be kept or recorded in the scrimmages, so, there is no winner or loser. Also no statistics are recorded.
The Horns played the contest without the services of starting tight end Mike Barr who was sidelined two weeks ago by injuries incurred in a wave runner accident at Roosevelt Lake. Last week, Barr retuned to school but was walking with the aid of a cane. He said doctors have not settled on when he can return to play but anticipates he'll be out another several weeks.
In his absence, senior quarterback J.R. Szabo agreed to move to the tight end position.
Ex-Horn coaches lock horns
The battle for the 3A West region football championship could turn into a duel between two former Payson High School coaches.
At Queen Creek, former PHS offensive coordinator Curt LeBlanc has his Bulldogs primed and ready for a run at the championship.
In nearby Higley, ex-Horn head coach Jim Beall is preparing the Knights for a possible regional championship challenge.
Beall led Payson to the 1998 state 3A championship with LeBlanc serving as the offensive coordinator.
Last season, LeBlanc's Dogs just missed the state tournament and were the only team to beat eventual state champion Globe. LeBlanc has former PHS football player Chad McRae. Although McRae is a talented signal caller, LeBlanc said he has a returning quarterback who will be pulling the trigger for the Dogs. Queen Creek returns six starters from a defense that held five of the Bulldogs' nine foes to 14 points or less.
Beall's cupboard at Higley seems to be as well stocked as LeBlanc's. The Knights have 13 starters back from a team that finished 5-4 last year.
Although Queen Creek and Higley are title contenders, the West championship travels through defending champ Wickenburg. Last season, the Wranglers finished 8-2. One of those losses was an early season defeat by Payson.
Calling all fans
There are Longhorn supporters who are hoping crowds of fans turn out for the golf team's home matches this year.
Among those fans is PHS teacher Bob Hoyt whose son, Billy Bob, is on the team. Bob's contention is that a gallery of spectators can only help players as they begin their first year of play in the Class 4A Grand Canyon region.
To this scribe's way of thinking, those who attend the matches also will have the opportunity to watch at least two players who could go on to college careers. Maybe the pro ranks also await.
Both Billy Bob and Brandan Kelley are on track to possibly earn college scholarships and are considered among the finest young players in the state.
Both home courses, Rim Club and Chaparral Pines, allow fans, parents and spectators to walk the course with their favorite players. Arizona Interscholastic Association rules do prohibit spectators from conversing with the athletes.