Aia Gives Blue Ridge Disputed Win


The Blue Ridge High School football team has been awarded a victory in a game that never featured a second half.

Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Director Harold Slemmer ruled that the Yellow Jackets were the winners of a Sept. 9 game pitting homestanding Blue Ridge against Valley Christian.


Blue Ridge High School coach Paul Moro and his Yellow Jackets picked up a win when the AIA ruled that a 23-14 halftime lead over Valley Christian would go down in the record books.

At halftime, with the Jackets leading 23-14, the game was called off by officials due to unsafe field conditions and severe weather.

The game was delayed twice in the first half by lightning.

Before making his ruling, Slemmer reviewed game reports from the officials working the clash.

"We respectfully disagree with the executive director's ruling," Clark Stephens, Valley Christian principal, said.

Stephens also said VC coaches and school officials agreed with the head official's decision to stop play for safety reasons, but did not agree to terminate the game and use the existing score as a final one.

With the win, Blue Ridge improves its record to 4-0, and VC falls to 2-1.

The clash contained more than its share of gridiron intrigue. Blue Ridge is the Class 3A No. 1 ranked team, and Valley Christian is top ranked in the 2A conference, which means, conference bragging rights, or the old bigger school vs. smaller school hoopla, was up for grabs.

Also, Valley Christian's football coach, Bill Morgan, formerly coached for six years at Show Low High School, leading the Cougars to the 3A state championship in 1999. Morgan also coached at Snowflake for seven years. Show Low and Snowflake are huge 3A East region football rivals of Blue Ridge.

As a former Show Low High School football coach, it's fair to say there's no love lost when the schools meet on the playing field.

While Morgan was with the Cougars and Lobos, he and BR head coach Paul Moro were on opposite sidelines often enough to be very familiar with one another.

Payson will host Moro and his BR squad Oct. 14.

Soccer showdowns at Rumsey

The Pioneer Title Agency Soccer Invitational, to be played Sept. 23 and 24 on both multipurpose fields at Rumsey Park, has drawn four high school teams.

Opening day, the teams will lock horns in a round robin. At 9 a.m., Payson plays St. Paul's Academy on "A" (south) field. On "B" (north) field, at 9 a .m., Round Valley takes on Verde Valley.

Action resumes at 1 p.m. with Verde Valley playing Payson on field A, and on field B Round Valley and St. Paul's meet.

At 4 p.m. on field A, Payson plays Round Valley, and on field B St. Paul's and Verde Valley clash.

The results of Friday's play will seed the team in a second day's consolation bracket. Opening round games will be played at 10 a.m. The consolation championship is set for noon and the tournament title game at 2 p.m.

At the conclusion of the tournament, trophies for first- and second-place will be awarded, as well as individual medals for those players selected all-tournament. The first place finishing team's coach will be allowed five all-tournament players. Second place receives four players, the third has three players and the last-place team receives one.

PHS coach Roger Wholly has issued an invitation for fans to turn out and cheer the Longhorn players on to victory. There is no admission charge.

Benefit golf at PGC

The inaugural Beautiful Schools Golf Tournament will tee off at 9 a.m. Sept. 24 on Payson Golf Course.

All proceeds from the tournament will be used to fund school improvement projects in the Payson Unified School District.

The entry fee is $70 per person, which includes light breakfast, lunch, green fees and cart. The open format will be four person best ball. Prizes will be awarded for longest drive, closest to the pin for men and women, and cash for first-, second- and third-place finishers. There will also be a $10,000 hole-in-one prize, raffles and Mulligans.

The tournament is open to only the first 28 teams to register.

For more information, call Dan Dillion at (928) 472-8208 or Russ Youngcourt at (928) 474-0608.

Sikora hosts horse training

The Payson Parks and Recreation Department has joined forces with certified trainer Steve Sikora to host the John Lyons Horsemanship Clinic Oct. 8 and 9 at the Payson Event Center.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the first day of the clinic, Sikora will host the horsemanship session of the clinic. According to Town Recreation Specialist Charlene Hunt, Sikora will teach good ground exercises to help gain the horse's attention and control before moving on to work in the saddle. After 1 p.m., Sikora has committed to remaining on site to work individually with those equestrians who are having specific problems with their horses. The fee for Oct. 8 is $100 for horse and rider. With no horse, it is $25.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 9, Sikora will focus on ground penning or getting control of a horse at liberty.

Hunt says the session will focus on working with horses that won't stand still to mount or are head shy. Once again, Sikora will remain after 1 p.m. to work with individual riders and horses. The fees for Oct. 9 are also $100 and $25.

To register or for more information, call Sikora at (602) 625-1961.

Youth basketball

Divisions for Payson Parks and Recreation Youth Basketball will include grades third-fourth, fifth-sixth and seventh-eighth. Games may be played on Saturdays and during the week.

Registration information is as follows: Seventh-eighth grades registration takes place through Oct. 12 and games begin in November. Fifth-sixth grades registration takes place Dec. 27 to Jan. 18, and games begin in February. Third-fourth grades registration takes place Nov. 21 to Dec. 14, and games begin in January.

Those who register after the deadline for their age group will be placed on teams only if space permits. The registration fee includes T-shirt, a minimum of ten games, and an end-of-the season pizza party. Participation fee is $20 per child.

For more information, contact the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at 1000 W. Country Club Dr., call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7; or visit

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