Memorial Tournament Attracts Record Donations

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With more than 50 golf carts roaring away early Saturday morning from the Payson Golf Course, the Second Annual Jack Morris Memorial Tournament was more like the Indy 500 than a benefit game.

The careening carts toted a full field of 112 golfers -- 32 foursomes -- around PGC as friends and family of the late Payson High School football coach sliced, putted and hooked all in the name of scholarship and the Longhorn gridiron program.

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Among the foursomes to participate in the Jack Morris Invitational Golf Tournament June 18 were (left to right) Donnie Garvin, Mike Loutzenheiser, Max Foster and Mark Velasco.

At the awards ceremony, tournament director Gary Cordell announced the proceeds of the tournament had reached $9,000 -- about $2,500 more than last year's inaugural event earned.

The money will benefit the PHS football program and fund a scholarship to be awarded next spring to a 2006 PHS graduate.

The recipient of the first Jack Morris Memorial Scholarship, 2005 graduate Donnie Wilbanks, was present.

Wilbanks is attending Mesa Community College where he will continue a football career that began in the Payson youth league and continued at Rim Country Middle School and Payson High School.

Also at the ceremony, Cordell announced the winning low gross teams.

In the blind draw competition, National Bank of Arizona tied the Morris Family with identical scores of 113. On National Bank of Arizona were Brent Cannon, Bill Schwind, Peter Fanelli and Kevin Anderson.

Morris Family included Buddy Morris, Kevin Kelley, Brandon Kelley and Joe Prock.

In the low gross scoring, the Ford Team of Troy Ford, Briggs Ashman, Corey Reinhart and Bryan Johnson took honors with a 58.

Following the tournament, Cordell thanked the football FAN (Friends and Neighbors) committee for their support in putting on the fray. They included president Farrel Hoosava, vice president Tim Doherty, secretary Michelle Halenar and treasurer Kristi Ford.

The tournament is played in memory of Morris, who died Feb. 23, 2004 of complications from a stroke. Morris was 34 at the time of his death.

Prior to his death, Morris was an assistant football coach at Payson High School and instrumental in helping the Longhorns earn the 1998 Class 3A state championship. He also coached for one year at Rim Country Middle School.

Morris graduated from PHS in 1987 and was a member of the 1986 football team that reached the state championships.

Three of Morris' 1986 teammates -- Mark Velasco, Eric Anderson and Mike Loutzenheiser -- participated in the tournament.

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