Austin White is a first year coach but he already understands one of the roles of prep sports.
Following his boys soccer team's return from a tournament at Round Valley High School in Eagar, he said, "My team was complimented many times as being the best mannered at the hotel, restaurants and from other coaches.
"We not only bring good athletes but also good people. It's good to know that PHS makes that an important part of sports."
In the tournament played Sept. 1 and 2 in Eagar, the Longhorns finished with a 2-2 record. The Horns opened with a 1-0 win over archrival Snowflake. In the second round, Payson fell 3-0 to Chino Valley and 2-1 to Precision. Payson then beat St. Johns 6-1.
In the four games, Aaron Loeffler scored two goals, as did Luis Chavez, Nic Creighton and Eric Lammers scored one goal each.
Following the team's return to Payson, White cited junior goalie Anthony Pearce for his exceptional tournament play.
"He is by far more than we ever expected," he said. "He not only comes with great skills but with a really great team-centered attitude."
Prior to the tournament, White appointed Pearce a team captain along with junior Chad Lammers and senior A.J. Hilgendorf.
"A.J. is what keeps our offense strong," White said. He is an unselfish player -- most goals we score are (the result of) assists from him."
Lammers, White said, "keeps our center strong with assistance from Shane Tuer."
The coach also cited the defensive play of newcomers Tanner Schaal, Ammon Carter and David Randall as a key to the Horns success.
"The team is starting to have fun while they play," White said. "When they are laughing and actually enjoying the sport, they do much better."
White also lauds the team for their willingness to sacrifice personal goals to help contribute to the team.
"With a new coach, many of the athletes are being put out of their comfort zones and play positions they have never tried before," he said. "Without hesitation, most of the boys just rush out there and ask what they need to do."
For the Round Valley tournament, White took along some of the younger players to give them valuable playing experience.
Freshman Trae Dunman, Wyatt McRae and Derek Williams went.
"Despite their smaller size they really got in there and did great both of offense and defense," the coach said.
The coach also lauded the play of sophomores Shane Crisp, Brandon Moratti and Nic Creighton.
"These young men will not only be strong this year, but will lead the team to great success next year as well."