The Longhorn soccer team springs into state tournament action at 3 p.m. today, Friday, in Tempe against Wilcox.
Payson enters the postseason as a No. 4 seed from the East region. Wilcox represents the top-seeded champions of the South region.
The Horns (12-7-1 and 5-3) actually tied Holbrook for third place in the regular season standings, but fell to the fourth seed because the Roadrunners won an Oct. 17 match up between the two rivals.
If the Horns emerge victorious against Wilcox, the team would advance to a state quarterfinal game to be played at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, against the winner of the Phoenix Country Day vs. Camp Verde first round match-up.
The Horns wrapped up the regular season Oct. 20 at Rumsey Park, with a 2-0 win over the St. Johns Redskins.
Forwards Nic Creighton and Aaron Loeffler scored Payson's goals.
Because the game was designated senior day, Anthony Pearce, Steven Hilgendorf, David Hernandez, Chad Lammers, Isaac Cluff, Gabriel Batista and Loeffler were honored for their contributions to the soccer program.
"They are a good group of guys that have been leaders on and off the field," coach Chad Gower said. "I wish them the best of luck in the future."
Batista and Hernandez ended their prep careers ranked among the top 25 scorers in the 3A conference.
Lammers, Cluff and Brandon Moratti were the team's best defenders and Pearce, the No. 1 goalie.
"I want to thank our fans, families and sponsors for a great regular season," Gower said. "I look forward to four more wins giving us the 3A state championship."
Today's state game will be played on Field No. 1 at the Benedict Sports Complex, located at 490 W. Guadalupe Road.