Thunderbirds Happy With Play Of Ex-Longhorn

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Former Payson High School football coach Dan Dunn, now the coach and athletic director at Mesa College, says ex-Longhorn Kevin Allen is playing well for the Thunderbirds.

Allen was an all-region and all-state two-way lineman for former coach Jerry Rhoades' 2005 Longhorns. He was also a three-year starter.

After graduation, he enrolled at MCC to play for Dunn.

Allen's younger brother, Kyle, was on Longhorn football and wrestling teams as a freshman in 2005.

At the end of that school year, Kyle moved to Washington and is now playing high school football there.

Last week, Kyle visited his brother at MCC and took in a game.

Dunn said he hopes to convince Kyle to follow in his brother's footsteps and accept an offer to play next year at Mesa.

Dunn has the MCC team off to a 6-1 start and a candidate for a bowl game that goes to the Maricopa County school with the best record in the Western States Football League.

Last week, the Thunderbirds pulled off a relatively easy 45-6 win over Phoenix College. If Dunn can get the T-Birds into a bowl game, it would be their first since 1998.

Mesa plays tomorrow, Saturday, against the No. 4-ranked Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters. The game will not have a bearing on the bowl bid because EAC is not a Maricopa County School.

In addition to Dunn coaching at MCC and Payson, he also served stints at Gilbert, Mesa Red Mountain and on the Northern Arizona reservation.

While Dunn, who played for Frank Kush at Arizona State University in the 1960s, no longer lives in Payson, he maintains a cabin-home south of town and is a frequent visitor to the Rim Country.

Basketball is great stuff

New town parks and recreation coordinator Joe Harris is excited about a first-ever offering he'll soon be bringing to the Rim Country.

Among the highlights of the half-court 3-on-3 basketball tournaments he's planning are the prizes to be awarded. Harris has secured $150 gift certificates from Chili's and Sawmill movie tickets. He's now in the process of finding even more prizes for the tournament winners and runners-up.

Although the popularity of 3-on-3 half-court basketball in Payson is not as great as it is in other towns, many of us grew up playing the pick-up games on back yard courts, at elementary schools and in gyms, when the space was available.

The town of Troy, Mo. holds 3-on-3 basketball tournaments on an outdoor court in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin annually hosts a well-attended 3-on-3 outdoor tournament, as does Vancouver, Wash. during the Hoops On the River fray played in a hotel parking lot.

I've often been baffled that Payson has a state-of-the-art outdoor basketball court, just south of Taylor Pool, that is rarely used.

There are aspiring teenage players in south Phoenix who would be thrilled to play on a facility the quality of the Rumsey Park court.

My fondest memories of pick-up games are as an Arizona State University student, when hundreds would gather during the evening hours on the old Goodwin Stadium courts.

Those games were not for the faint of heart.

To participate in Payson's first 3-on-3, Harris is asking players to register at the parks and recreation office or at Rumsey Park site of the tournament, which will be held Nov. 2 and 3.

He says, the program is for men and women ages 16 and older.

Participants between the ages of of 16 and 18 years, must have the roster signed by their legal guardian.

Divisions of play will include men's, women's and coed.

On Friday, Nov. 2, all teams must show up for round robin seeding play. Each team will play at least twice Friday evening and twice Saturday (double elimination tournament).

The game format is three players vs. three players half-court, outdoor street basketball. Each team may have up to six players, but can only play three at a time. Registration is $50 and players can enter more than one division. Rules and registration forms are available at P&R offices located at GVP. For more information, call Harris at the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at (928) 474-5242 ext. 359 (cell: 978-4150) or www.paysonparks.com.

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