Football Players Honored At Banquet

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Zach Miller was the only Longhorn football player to be on the receiving end of two team awards at a season-ending ceremony held Nov. 29 on the Tonto Apache Reservation.

Miller was named the Horns' Most Valuable Player and the recipient of the Mr. Defense citation.

The senior defensive end and tight end was earlier selected to the East All-Region first team, was a Longhorn co-captain and tied for second in the East region in total yards lost by quarterback sacks.

PHS first year coach Josh Anderson praised Miller as "having a great year on both sides of the ball" and being an "all-around player who we are going to miss."

During the annual ceremonies, which featured Hall of Fame coach Frank Kush as a special guest, Anderson also cited several other players for their contributions during the year.

Chris Eavenson, an all-region honorable mention selection, received the "Lifter of the Year" award.

The honor represents a huge accomplishment mostly because Anderson has stressed the importance of weight room work and off-season conditioning since his arrival last summer on the PHS campus.

Eavenson also wrapped up the season ranked ninth in the region in tackles per game with 8.7.

The Longhorn pride award was given to guard and middle linebacker Vance Garner. The citation was not his first as a member of the PHS football program.

Last year, under former coach Jerry Rhoades, Garner was one of eight team members to earn Longhorn Ring of Honor status.

Garner and the others were chosen for their involvement in sports other than football, academic excellence and community and school volunteer work.

Anderson and his coaching staff tapped lineman David Hill to be the recipient of the Hardest Hitter Award.

In addition to Hill's excellence in football, he is also an honor student at PHS.

This past year, he was a recipient of the AIA's Dr. Voie Stuart Chase Coy Scholar Athlete Award for maintaining a 3.50 GPA or better while participating in varsity sports.

The Lineman of the Year award was given to 6-5, 235-pound sophomore nose guard and tackle, Matt Wilson.

Wilson -- who coaches say has a bright future in two sports -- is a basketball standout on the Longhorn junior varsity team.

The final of the seven-team awards, the Most Improved Player, was given to senior noseguard and center Marcus MacFarlane.

"He was there (at practice and games) every day and kept getting better and better," said defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes.

As a team, the Longhorns struggled to a 4-6 record overall, 2-4 in the East, but did manage to post some impressive region accomplishments.

The Longhorns ended the campaign ranked second in the East in passing yards, receiving yards and total yards lost by sacks. The team was third in receiving touchdowns, total sacks and sacks per game.

It was fourth in rushing, total yards and tackles per game.

With the awards ceremony over, most Horn players have turned their attention to wrestling and basketball.

However, there could be other awards just over the horizon.

Senior team members are eligible to be selected to the Arizona Coaches Association North vs. South All-Star game when it is played in the summer of 2007. All-state awards will be announced next week.

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