Raiders Remain Undefeated In Youth League

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The Payson Raiders youth football dynasty continues in the Rim country.

Midway through the Central Arizona Youth Football Association season, the Raiders, coached by Billy Hardt and Dale Gonzalez, are unbeaten (5-0).

Last year, the team was 10-0 and league champions. In 2002, the Raiders compiled a 10-1 mark.

In an Oct. 9 CAYFA clash, the Raiders met with the homestanding Camp Verde Bulldogs. Both teams entered the fray with 4-0 credentials.

The Raider cause took a big hit on an opening kickoff reverse play when Ryan Cox broke his arm after returning the kick about 35 yards.

Without their starting flanker in the game, the Raiders pulled together to build a 14-0 halftime lead on touchdowns by Timmy Lantz and Clifford Lopez.

In the second half, the Raiders tacked on two insurance TDs to push the final count to 26-0.

With the win, the Payson team is all alone atop the CAYFA Eastern Conference standings.

A week prior to the win over Camp Verde, the Raiders took a hard-fought 22-0 victory over the Payson Eagles.

Following the game, Hardt praised the Eagles as the hardest hitting team the Raiders had played.

"The Eagles came to play," the coach said.

Hardt also lauded his offensive line "for their toughness." On the line were Sean Ford, Brandon Ford, Jake Gonzalez, Tanner Clausen and Jordan Bane.

Sept. 25 on the Payson High School field, the Raiders romped over the Cottonwood Cardinals 24-0 behind the defensive efforts of Brandon Ford, Cody Sexton and Ryan Cox.

Offensively, Hardt cited Jordan Bane, Lopez and Lantz for stellar play.

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