They tore down the goalposts at Payson High School.
But it was a good thing — not an act of vandalism.
The old posts, which had stood for decades, were replaced by higher, safer, state-of-the-art posts fans might see at a 5A school or in the college ranks.
The new posts were desperately needed for three reasons — to help officials accurately call Longhorn football games, ensure senior kicker Josh Frewin receives his just due next season and for safety.
During past seasons, officiating crews complained that the uprights on the goal posts did not extend high enough to properly tell if field goal attempts were good or not.
Veteran official Tim Fruth, also the PHS assistant principal, was among those referees who realized the posts were too short.
“It was almost impossible to tell, especially if the kick was high,” he said.
Last year, some fans and members of the coaching staff grumbled that at least three of Frewin’s kicks were called “no-good” when they actually sailed through the uprights.
Also the old goalposts, which longtime fans believe had been in place at least three decades, were not off set from the field rendering them a hazard.
Although a serious accident never occurred, the potential for a football player running head-first into the post always existed.
When Matt Mayo was hired this spring as the new PHS football coach, he immediately noticed there was a problem with the posts.
“I watched film of every game (for 2008) and there was something in the films that bothered me — the goalposts,” he said. “They were in bad need of replacement.”
Mayo noted that many of Frewin’s kicks sail high in the air making it difficult for referees to tell if the kick is good, or not.
“I thought it would be nice to replace the goalposts to get higher and newer ones as we have a potential all-state kicker in Frewin,” said Mayo.
So, the new coach went on a search to find new and safer goals.
“I found the same problem every time — the posts were affordable, but the labor costs of removing the old ones and installing new ones made the job too costly,” Mayo said.
What resulted has Mayo thanking his lucky stars he moved out of the big city and into a small, close-knit town.
“The kind of thing (that happened) would be unimaginable in the previous school I worked in,” Mayo said. “I had a long sales pitch prepared when I called Reese Randall (Intermountain West Civil Constructors) about donating the labor — he accepted immediately without any sales pitch whatsoever.”
Had not Randall offered to do the labor and also enlisted the help of others — including Willie Ingram at Golden Rule Surveying — the installation would have cost the football program more than $6,000.
Students also got into the act when Richard Alvarez’s buildings trades class jumped in to dig the holes for the new posts and prep the site.
George Randall at Payson Concrete and Materials chipped in to donate the concrete and $100 donations each were received from Art Lloyd, Sharon Hansen, Hansen, Verde Engineering and Smart Systems.
“It was amazing to see such widespread generosity from so many sources in such a short time,” Mayo said.
“This is what makes Payson such a wonderful place to live and work.”
Meeting the guidelines
What Randall and others who helped learned while taking down the old posts is that they were not positioned properly on the field and did not meet safety guidelines.
But with the help of Ingram and his survey crew, the new posts are now positioned exactly perfect behind the end zones.
Also, they are offset from the playing field, eliminating most of the danger of players running into the standards.
The higher uprights should also make game officials’ job of judging field goal accuracy much easier.
Randall agrees it took a communitywide effort to finish the project.
“A lot of people jumped in and helped, after all it’s for the kids.”