A statewide sports Web site has selected a 3A All-State football team that features two Payson team members as its “Co-Players of the Year.”
By tapping seniors Bryan Burke and Matt Wilson to the team, arizonasports-nework.com is praising them as the two finest all around players in the state.
Which is a huge testament since the 3A ranks included many top-notch players bound for college careers.
Both Wilson (6 feet, 6 inches; 256 pounds) and Burke (6 feet, 5 inches; 220 pounds) are three-year varsity starters for the Longhorns who played on both sides of the ball at defensive ends and offensive tackles.
As tackles, the dynamic duo paved the way for the state’s finest ground attack that included 1,000-yards-plus rusher David Carlen and Brandon Alexander, who ran for 1,051 yards.
In the Horns’ perfect 14-0 state championship season, Wilson and Burke helped Payson’s power option offense carve out 4,311 yards on the ground and 1,299 through the airways.
Most importantly, opposing coaches were forced to scheme throughout the practice week leading up to a Payson game on how to prepare for the two.
Defensively, Wilson finished with 89 total tackles, 35 of which were unassisted, four sacks for 30 yards in losses, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Burke had 80 tackles, seven sacks for 54 yards in losses and one fumble recovery.
Simply put, the two were the most destructive pair of linemen in the 3A conference.
Both have indicated they would like to continue their playing careers on the collegiate level.
For now, the two have turned their attentions to other endeavors. Wilson is the starting center on the basketball team, and Burke is one of the Longhorns’ finest wrestlers.
In addition to the selection of Wilson and Burke as Co-Players of the Year, azsportsnetwork chose senior linebackers David Carlen and Tyler Savage to the first team defense.
PHS quarterback/safety Ridge Halenar was named to the first team as a 12th-man “athlete” which meant he had first-team skills at a variety of positions.
Blue Ridge’s Dustin Simmons garnered honors as the all-state first team quarterback. Round Valley’s Hayden Eagar was named the second team quarterback.
On the second team defense, linebacker Nick Johnson, safety Shane Kick and place kicker Josh Frewin represented Payson.