Memory Of Phs Player, Coach Raises Money For Local Youth Scholarships

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Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament Director Gary Cordell summed up the purpose of the annual event by telling the full field of 116 entrants, "All the money earned goes to the kids."

Cordell's comments were uttered in a post tournament celebration held June 17 in the Payson Golf Course clubhouse.

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Mark Velasco, one of Jack Morris' closest friends, tallies his team's score sheet on the final hole of the benefit tournament.

Preliminary estimates show the links fray earned about $8,500. Of that, $1,500 will fund the Jack Morris scholarship, which will be awarded next spring to a Payson High School graduate.

This year, the scholarship went to Jadyn Walden. The original scholarship, given in 2005, was awarded to Donnie Wilbanks.

After the scholarships are funded, the remainder of the tournament proceeds benefits the Longhorn football program.

At the 19th hole celebration, Cordell introduced newly appointed Payson High School football coach Josh Anderson, who thanked the crowd for their support of the tournament and scholarship.

"This is a great event, I am really impressed with it," he said.

In the field of golfers were several former teammates of Morris on the 1986 state runner-up Longhorn football team.

Among them were Mark Velasco, Greg Alexander, Mike Loutzenheiser, Eric Anderson and Ty Chilson.

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Greg Alexander, a 1986 PHS football teammate of Jack Morris, hooked up with several other ex-Longhorns in the memorial tournament.

Morris died Feb. 23, 2004 of complications from a stroke.

He was 34 years old at the time of his death and an assistant Payson High football coach.

Present at the tournament were his widow, Dawn, daughters, Courtney and Chancee, and mother, Terri.

During homecoming celebrations held Sept. 24, 2004, Morris's jersey number, 70, from his playing days at PHS, was retired.

The memorial tournament began as a tribute to him and his contributions to the Longhorn football program.

In the battle for the 2006 tournament championship, the foursome of Troy Ford, Paul Bucich, Brian Johnson and Briggs Ashman defended the title they won last year.

Cordell called the event an overwhelming success, saying he had to turn some entrants away because the field filled up quickly.

"It's very popular, a lot of people want to play," he said.

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