Toss Of Coin Turns Bad For Horns

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In the next coin flip Dave Bradley is involved in, his call won't be "heads."

When Bradley called "heads" Tuesday, it resulted in the Payson High School Longhorn football team falling to a No. 3 state seed should the East region title chase end in a three-way tie.

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Longhorn defensive back Miles Huff (84) goes high to intercept a Round Valley Elk pass attempt. Huff and his teammates held the Elks in check during the Horns' 35-3 win Oct. 21 in Longhorn stadium. Despite the win, the Horns could go to state as the region's No. 3 seed.

"My luck was horrible," Bradley said.

The coin flip took place during a three-way conference call Oct. 25, originating from the office of Holbrook High School Athletic Director Paul DeMuth.

The flip for state tournament seeding was needed because it appears extremely likely Blue Ridge, Round Valley and Payson will wrap up the regular season tied for the East region championship.

On the first "odd team No. 1 flip" Round Valley was the odd flip and received the first seed.

On the next flip, between Blue Ridge and Payson, Bradley made the losing "heads" call and the Yellow Jackets will go to state as the East's No. 2 team.

Just as some feared might happen in a flip rather than a playoff, Payson fell to third.

Although third place is disappointing for the coaching staff, players and fans, there is a glimmer of hope Payson can still earn a No. 1 seed.

For that to happen, Snowflake would have to pull off the upset of the season and defeat state top-ranked Blue Ridge in an Oct. 28 season-ending clash.

If that were to occur, only RV and Payson would be tied in the East standings. Since Payson won its head-to-head battle against the Elks, 35-3 on Oct. 21, the Longhorns would advance to state as the No. 1 seed.

With Horn hopes for a more advantageous seed to state hinging on a Lobo win over Blue Ridge, Payson fans could turn into some of the greatest Snowflake supporters in the state.

"Go Lobos," Bradley said.

No. 1 or 3?

If the Longhorns are relegated to the third seed, they'll have to wait for the outcome of Oct. 28 season-ending games to learn who they will play Nov. 4 in the first round at state.

But first, the Longhorns have to take care of their own business and beat Show Low this evening in Show Low. Kick off is at 7 p.m.

If the Horns cage the Cougars, they'll immediately turn their attention to Lakeside where the Yellow Jackets and Lobos will clash.

One eye will be focused to the south, however, where Florence and Sahuarita are meeting.

If Florence wins and Payson has the state third seed, the Longhorns will travel to Safford for the first round of state. If Sahuarita wins, the Horns visit Sahuarita for the opening round.

Advancing to state as a third seed will be a tougher road to travel for Payson.

It means the Longhorns take on a higher seed and must be on the road, rather than at home, in the first round.

Losing home cookin' is a big blow for any prep football team.

Receiving a third seed could also result in the Longhorns playing defending state champion Blue Ridge in the state semifinals Nov. 18 at Mesa College. The Yellow Jackets are one of three teams that have beaten Payson this season.

The Horns will also be advancing to state, whether it be as No. 1 or No. 3, without the services of perhaps the team's best defensive player. Senior middle linebacker Cash Armstrong suffered a broken wrist in the win over Round Valley.

"It's something (doctors) can't cast. He's out for the year," defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes said.

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