The Payson Raiders (8-0) have won the regular season championship of the Central Arizona Youth Football Association major league division.
According to Raiders coach Dale Gonzalez, the youth football team turned in its most impressive showing of the campaign Nov. 1 in a 34-8 victory over the Chino Valley Trojans. The Trojans entered the game, played in Chino Valley, unbeaten and No. 1 ranked in the CYFA standings. The running of B.J. Hill (82 yards; 2 TDs) carried the Raiders (8-0) to victory. Hill also unleashed a TD pass to Zach Brooks and scored a two-point conversion.
Gonzalez also cited Cody York (one TD, two-point conversion) for helping keep the Raiders unbeaten.
After the Trojans took an 8-0 lead early in the game, the Raider defense rose up to keep Chino Valley at bay the remainder of the game. Gonzalez praised coaches Billy Hardt and Brad Hill for engineering an effective game plan.
According to Gonzalez, the Trojan crowd entered the game anticipating a win over the No. 2 ranked Payson crew.
"They had victory cakes waiting for the kids to celebrate an undefeated season," he said. "But it was the Raiders who walked away with their heads held high."
Ironically, the showdown was almost cancelled because the officials scheduled to call the game failed to show up.
The Raiders will return to action at 10 a.m. tomorrow on PHS field against the Camp Verde Bulldogs. The game represents the opener in the first round of the postseason playoffs.