Longhorn basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser is not often thought of as an aspiring poet. His expertise is not poetry, it's on the hardwood and teaching math at Payson High School.
But Mike proved Thursday morning that he might possess a few poetic genes that have gone untouched.
Only hours before the funeral of Mike's former football teammate and fellow PHS coach Jack Morris, Mike sat down to pen a poem in memory of his friend.
Mike wrote about the season he and Jack were teammates on the 1986 Longhorn football team that reached the state championship.
He titled the writing "Hearts Fire, In Memory of Jack Morris."
The funeral began with Mike reading the poetry to the many friends of Jack's who attended.
"In '86, we went the distance, winning most the games we played.
Commitment, brotherhood and dedication, a family unit we displayed.
Every Longhorn working hard to achieve a goal we all desired.
Triumph heartache, we felt it all, a season filled with Hearts Fire.
Everyday working together, what special friends we became.
A lifetime of memories we now have, from a season destined for fame.
Each year, our family gets bigger with all that wear the purple and gold.
Longhorn pride within us all, fierce competitors both young and old.
I think of my brothers all the time, memories consume me and I'm filled with pride.
I cherish the past and look to the future; we again stand together, side by side."
A free junior golf rules clinic will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 10 at Payson Golf Course. The clinic is sponsored by the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and will cover basic rules of play.
The session is open free of charge to players 18 and younger. Pre-registration is not required. Those interested should up at the course a few minutes prior to the beginning of the clinic.
For more information, call Kevin Kelley at (928) 474-0712.
Res ball a big hit
There were some onlookers in Phoenix America West Arena Saturday afternoon that were stunned by the huge turnout of fans who showed up for the girls 3A state championship game that pitted Monument Valley against Winslow. That size of crowd, about 4000-plus fans, seldom shows up for high school games in Phoenix or Tucson.
Huge crowds, however, are an every-game occurrence at the northern Arizona reservation schools where basketball is more a way of life than a game.
Chinle brought about 3,000 fans to Wilson Dome when the team played Payson in the regular season. Since Saturday's state championship game pitted a Navajo/Hopi reservation school, Monument Valley, against Winslow, a team that draws heavily from the reservation, the game drew huge interest in northern Arizona. A concession stand employee working his first state tournament said fan enthusiasm at the game rivaled that of a Phoenix Suns contest.
Winslow eventually won the championship.