Both the boys and girls Payson High School soccer teams will be out to improve their state playoff hopes in upcoming crucial region showdowns against the St. Johns Redskins.
The Lady Horns play host to St. Johns. Oct. 11. The Longhorns host the Redskins the following day. Both games will kick off at 6 p.m. on the Rumsey Park south field.
In East division boys play, the Longhorns are tied for fourth place in the standings, with a 3-5 record (5-10-1 overall). With an 8-0 region record, Blue Ridge is first. Trailing are Show Low (6-2) and Round Valley (5-2).
Among Payson's finest efforts this year was a 4-1 win Oct. 5 over Holbrook.
"Our boys had their greatest success," coach Roger Wholly said.
Payson got on the scoreboard in the ninth minute of the game on a goal by Nate Doyle off an assist from David Hernandez. Doyle's scoring antics were nothing new for the PHS junior. Only days earlier, he toed the winning field goal in the final moments of the Longhorn football team's 17-14 homecoming win over Fountain Hills.
After the Holbrook soccer crew tied the score at 1-1, Shane Tuer rebounded a missed penalty kick to give the Longhorns a 2-1-halftime lead.
Hernandez put the game out of reach, scoring in the fourth and 29th minute of the second half to give the Horns the three-goal victory.
The Payson boys returned to the Rumsey Park field Oct. 8 only to suffer an 8-1 loss to the Show Low Cougars. Patrick Karlowski scored the Longhorns' lone goal.
The Lady Horns also suffered at the paws of the cats dropping a 2-1 decision. Janet Echols scored for Payson.
Following the Lady Horns' skirmish against St. Johns, the team travels Oct. 14 and 15 to the Camp Verde Cowboy Invitational. The boys visit Snowflake Oct. 15 for an 11 a.m. game.