Senior Earns All-American Honors

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A Payson High football standout has been selected the school's third National High School Athletic Coaches Association All-American.

Derrick Hoosava, a senior, received the honor Jan. 29 at the 14th Annual Fall Induction ceremonies in Mesa.

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National High School Athletic Coaches Association All-American football player Derrick Hoosava was accompanied to the awards ceremony by his mother Mary and father Farrell.

Previous inductees from PHS include Amberlyn White (1998, basketball) and R.C. LaHaye (2001, wrestling).

NHSACA All-Americans are chosen on their athletic and academic accomplishments as well as contributions to their community and school.

Following his induction, Hoosava thanked "all my teachers, friends and family that had a part in my upbringing and made me a better person."

A glimpse of Hoosava's extensive resume reveals why his selection to the 11-player football star team probably wasn't a difficult decision for All-American Chairman Tot Workman and four board members, including former PHS basketball star Ellie Hardt.

At Payson High School, Hoosava was a three-year letter winner in football and co-captain both his junior and senior seasons.

Playing cover-corner in the Longhorn defense, coach Jerry Rhoades has called him the "brains" of the team, who made many of the on-the-field defensive calls. He also held down the punter position and helped lead the 2005 squad to a share of the 3A East championship and a state playoff berth.

As a senior, he was chosen to the 3A All-East region first team defense.

A year earlier, he reaped Class 4A Grand Canyon Region honorable mention accolades.

Hoosava was also a two-time PHS Ring of Honor recipient.

To earn those laurels, he had to commit to an off-season weight-training program, participate in spring football, attend a three-day-a-week summer program, excel academically and involve himself in school and community activities.

Last fall, he was selected the school's homecoming king.

Hoosava played basketball as a freshman and sophomore, but stepped away from the sport to concentrate on his studies and football.

Academically, Hoosava has maintained a 3.25 GPA while participating in student council, National Honor Society and fostering incoming freshmen in the Longhorn Mentor program.

Hoosava also worked as a volunteer with the Payson Friends And Neighbors (FAN) club, works part time with the Payson Parks and Recreation Department and is a past member of the town planning and zoning commission.

The teen is a three-time winner of the Tonto Apache Tribe's Academic Excellence Award, which is doled out annually to the tribal member with the highest GPA. He is on track to win the award a fourth consecutive year this spring.

Following his graduation with the class of 2006, Hoosava will travel to Australia to play on the All-Arizona football team in the Down Under Bowl.

Today, Friday, in the office of Mesa Community College athletic director and football coach Dan Dunn, Hoosava will sign a letter of intent to play next season for the Thunderbirds.

Derrick is the son of Farrell and Mary Hoosava and the grandson of Flo Engle of the Tonto Apache Tribe.

He is also the first PHS football player to receive the All-American award.

Also present at the All-American awards ceremony was former PHS assistant football coach Curt LeBlanc -- now the head coach at Queen Creek High School.

LeBlanc had two players from his Bulldog team -- Dominic Gamnboa and Andy Wickizer -- chosen All-American.

The awards are co-sponsored by the Dairy Council of Arizona and the Arizona Coaches Association.

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