One star player does not make a team.
That age-old sports adage turned evident Sept. 22 in Holbrook where the Longhorns broke a year-long losing streak against the Roadrunners with a 3-1 win.
Because Holbrook features a standout player who shoulders most of the Runners’ offense, PHS coach Chad Gower decided on a new system of swarming defenders against him.
“Our defense came together with Ben Sandoval, Derek Williams, Ben Lee and Jimmy Behrens doing an excellent job shutting down their leading scorer,” Gower said. “The players became his best friend all night long, not standing more than one foot away and not allowing him to have any quality shots or passes.”
Swelling with pride over the team’s accomplishments, the coach said, “Many teams have only one secret weapon, where our team has an entire field.”
With the win, Payson improved to 6-3-1 overall and 1-1 in East Region play.
In the fray in the northlands, Payson took a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the game on a set play in which Dakoda Wholly found Nic Creighton on a corner kick.
The lead was short-lived however, as the Roadrunners came back to tie up the game 1-1 at halftime.
Only 24 seconds into the second half, Payson jumped out 2-1 on a score by Shane Crisp.
“A shot from Nic went into the hands of the Holbrook keeper, but fell out and Shane put the ball in the back of the net,” Gower said.
Seven minutes later, Jerry Renteria’s shot was slowed by the Holbrook goalie but Creighton put the deflected ball in the net to give the Horns a two-goal cushion.
“We overcame a team that we have lost to for a year now,” Gower said. “I was very excited that the boys came together and everybody wanted to ‘Do Work.’”
That is the chant the players call out at halftime of each game.