5a Considers Change, 4a Remains The Same

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Coaches in the 5A conference are mulling over whether to increase the state tournament format from 16 to 32 teams. According to Payson High School athletic director Dave Bradley, the 4A conference does not have such a consideration on the table.

In the proposed 5A format, a 32-team playoff would not mean a longer season. If the larger state tournament field is adopted, the regular season would be reduced by one game. Apparently 5A coaches are convinced the 32-team field is needed to allow more teams, and players, the opportunity to participate in postseason play.

That proposal makes a lot of sense to local football players and coaches. Payson posted an impressive 8-2 record last season, but did not make the 16-team playoff. In the power point rankings that are used to seed 4A teams into the state tournament, the Longhorns finished 17th, about one-point out of the playoffs.

Several players have expressed their disappointment about not being able to participate in the postseason. Had there been a larger tournament field as 5A coaches are proposing, the Horns would have been included in the tournament.

Rim team pockets prize money

Christy Clark and John Browning, both of Payson, fished their way to an eighth-place finish at the AllStar Bass Couples Bass Tournament Nov. 16 at Roosevelt Lake.

For their catch of 4.74 pounds, the pair earned $457 in prize money.

Kay Wagner and Chi Chi Chavez of Roosevelt finished sixth with 5.05 pounds.

The tournament champs, JoAnn Caley of Phoenix and Matt Shura of Gilbert, weighed in a six-fish limit of 11.63 pounds. Although Caley was officially listed as Shura's partner, for some reason, she didn't show up. Shura fished alone and won $2,850.

Hardt out

According to Round Valley High School officials, Shaun Hardt will not return as the Elks head football coach. In his two years at the head of the football program, Hardt posted a 3-14 record.

Prior to moving to Eagar/ Springerville, Hardt was the highly successful coach of the Lady Longhorn basketball team. In Payson, he also coached track and field and football. RV officials would not say why Hardt is not returning as the Elks' head coach.

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