Longhorns Head North To Winslow

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A prep football visit to Winslow during the tenure of Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach Emil Nasser would usually have meant a bus ride home mourning an "L".

But Nasser stepped aside two decades ago, Winslow has seldom been the powerhouse it was under him, and what remains of the heralded tradition is "Emil Nasser Field" on the campus of Winslow High School.

When the Longhorns charge on the turf this evening for a 7 p.m. kick off, the team will be without its starting quarterback, B.J. Hill, who has been suspended for three games for disciplinary reasons, Payson High School coach Jerry Rhoades said.

During the practice week, Hill was replaced in the lineup by sophomore Zack Brooks.

More relief at the position could be waiting in the wings in the form of senior Josh Blalock who has been sidelined most of the season by a back injury.

According to Rhoades, Blalock has received an OK from doctors to play, but must complete a mandatory number of practices before he will be allowed to compete.

At press time, Blalock's status was unclear.

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Payson High School football coach Jerry Rhoades.

Even if he does play, Blalock undoubtedly will be rusty because of the missed practices.

Which means no matter who is under center, the offensive burden will fall on senior tailback Luke Apfel.

In the Longhorns' Aug. 26 season opening 34-0 win in Parker, Apfel was credited with 120 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving, two punt returns for 40 yards and a kick off return for another 33.

Another offensive show such as that might be what the Longhorns need to return home from Winslow clutching a victory.

Defensively against Parker, the Horns received strong showings from "Willie" or weakside linebacker Zack Miller and "Hero" or rotating safety Brennon McLaws.

Rhoades said he is expecting both to step up against the Bulldogs and turn in the same type of effort.

In addition to McLaws defensive contributions, he rushed for 23 yards on six carries.

The outcome of high school game usually hinge the play of special teams and the Longhorns had a strong showing against Parker from their punting team. Punter Derrick Hoosava kept the Broncos backs against the goal line booting three kicks for a 43.7 yard average.

Winslow will probably enter the non-region game without the services of senior running back Adrian Smith, who was sidelined early in the Bulldogs season opening 40-14 win over Holbrook.

Rhoades said he would be surprised if Smith returned because game films indicate he left the game with a possibly severe knee injury that would take some time to rehabilitate.

The absence of Smith, however, might not slow the potent Dog offense led by quarterback Jordan Payne.

"He is fast and tough," Rhoades said.

The Dogs also have at their disposal a potent two-way player in Anthony Martinez who against Holbrook returned a kickoff 57 yards, intercepted a pass and scored two touchdowns.

Winslow scored all of its points against Holbrook in the first half and then coasted given coach Adam Larsen his first win.

Larsen stared as a two-way lineman for the Bulldogs in the mid-1990s.

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