Care to guess whether the Longhorn football team will earn a berth into the Class 4A state championship tournament?
Flip a coin, get out your Ouija board and roll a set of dice. That's about all anyone can do at this point; the Longhorns' chances of advancing are simply to close too call.
The only thing for certain is that the team's state future hinges on the outcome of tonight's game at Flagstaff Sinagua.
Barring a total meltdown, the Longhorns should easily dispose of the cellar-dwelling Mustangs (0-4, 2-7). The really sad side note in playing the 'Stangs is that their former head coach, Ed Campos, is now in Tucson attending to his daughter who is suffering from leukemia. In Campos' absence, Mike Moran is serving as head coach.
Even if the Horns prevail over Sinagua as expected, the victory won't guarantee Payson a state berth.
For the Longhorns to earn a ducat to the postseason dance, the team must finish among the top-16 in the power point rankings.
As of today, Payson is rated 17th with a ranking of 55.00. Ranked directly ahead of the Longhorns are Arcadia and Cienega, which are tied for 15th with identical tallies of 57.22. Mingus and Millennium are dead-knotted for 13th place (57.78). Payson probably has little hopes of passing Tucson Santa Rita (12th; 58.44), Ironwood Ridge (11th 59.38) or Moon Valley and Coconino (ninth place tie; 60.56).
Payson's best hopes of reaching the playoffs might be edging past Arcadia in the power point ranking. The 4A seventh-ranked Trojans are 8-1 but must play No. 1 ranked and unbeaten Chaparral this evening.
If Arcadia loses, it is possible it could fall from the sweet 16.
In the power point system, teams get 50 points for a victory and five points for every game their previous opponent's win throughout the campaign.
If Arcadia falls to Chaparral as expected, the Titans would get 50 bonus points from Chaparral because the Firebirds would have a 10-0 record.
Both Arcadia and Payson would also receive five bonus points from each of their previous opponents who win tonight.
That's where the picture turns muddled for both teams.
A pair of both Arcadia and Payson's previous opponents, Prescott and Apache Junction, are winless and will probably continue to founder.
Payson also had a victory over 1-8 Desert Ridge who might not win tonight. Arcadia has a victory over winless San Luis.
Power points from previous opponent's victories will be tough to come by for both the Titans and Longhorns
OK, so not much.
The bottom line is, Payson (7-2) must beat Sinagua and have some other games around the state go their way for the Horns to earn their first berth in the 4A state tournament.
Stay tuned, the race to state is going to be nip and tuck.
Bears battle for postseason
According to Payson Bears coach Mike Conway, the team's toughest game of the season will kickoff at noon tomorrow (Saturday) on Longhorn field against the Camp Verde Cowboys. The Bears earned the East Division championship with an 8-1 record, and will be hosting a Cowboys team that finished with a 7-2 slate.
According to Conway, the Bears' "prolific offense and stonewall defense" led the team to the title.
Coaches and players are hoping for a huge turnout tomorrow to support the team in its quest for postseason honors. There is no admission charge.