Payson Grad Named Mvp At All-Star Game

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The rest of the state now knows the name Luke Apfel, and if they know nothing else about him, they know he plays a great game of football.

Proof that he is among the elite running backs in the state surfaced June 16 in the Class 1A-3A North vs. South All-Star football classic at Surprise Stadium.

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Payson's Luke Apfel took center stage on the Surprise Stadium jumbotron after he was named the most valuable player of the Arizona Coaches Association's All-Star game.

On the very first play, Apfel, a member of the North team, scored on a 68-yard scamper to give his star team a lead it never relinquished. On the trap play, Apfel charged through the center-guard gap, turned outside, broke a tackle and used his speed to carry him into the end zone.

"I had good blocking," he said. "It's all-star blocking."

Apfel's gridiron heroics earned the North team a 21-7 win and earned the Payson High School graduate the game's Most Valuable Player award.

"That was exciting, winning that," he said.

Also in the game, Apfel scored another touchdown on a waggle play in which he got loose in the flat, hauled in a short pass and took it about 40 yards to pay dirt.

Apfel finished with 120 yards rushing.

Although Apfel wrapped up his senior season last fall with over 2,000 yards rushing, there were some in the state who were not aware of his talents. His lack of recognition might have been because he played for a small town Class 3A high school.

But his performance in the all-star game proved that he indeed is among the state's best.

Next fall, Apfel will attend Northern Arizona University Flagstaff and major in wildlife biology.

He will take a self-imposed red shirt freshman season and then turn out for the Lumberjack team in spring practices.

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