Pursuit of the 1A-3A state championships begins today, Friday, for the Payson High School boys and girls soccer teams.
The girls advance to state as the East region No. 5 seed and will play at 5 p.m. on Field 7 at Tempe Sports Complex against East champion Blue Ridge.
The Lady Horns drew the unusual challenge of opening against a champion from the their same region -- which would not occur in any other 3A prep sport -- because the West sent only three seeds to the state tournament. To complete an eight-team bracket, a fifth team from the East was added to the state mix.
Last year, the Lady Horns suffered the same fate, drawing East champ Blue Ridge for the first round of the state tournament.
The Jackets beat Payson 2-0 and eventually advanced to the championship round where they lost to Sedona 2-0.
The boys advance to state, clutching the East No. 4 seed, and are set to play at 3 p.m. on Field 5 at Tempe Sports Complex against the still-to-be-determined West Region champion.
The Longhorns wrapped up their season Oct. 24 at Rumsey Park in a game that was called off because of lightning.
School officials said the game against Blue Ridge was not rescheduled because the results of it would have had no bearing on the state seedings.
The Lady Longhorns also wrapped up the regular season Oct. 24 at Rumsey in a game that was played before the lightning began.
In the clash, PHS ended the campaign on a sour note, losing 2-0 to St. Johns.
The girls state tournament will continue with the second round Oct. 28 at Tempe Sports Complex. The championship will be contested at noon Nov. 4 at Canyon State Academy, formerly Arizona Boys Ranch, near Queen Creek.
The second round of the boys tournament is set for Oct. 28 at Tempe Sports Complex. The final four will be played Nov. 3 at Canyon State and the title game at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at Canyon State Academy.