Payson High was among the seven high school football state championship teams honored Dec. 28 by the Arizona Cardinals.
A contingent of 30 Longhorn players and coaches were guests of the Cards during the team’s regular season-ending and nationally televised game against the Seattle Seahawks.
During halftime ceremonies, the Payson players, along with those from the other state championship teams, were escorted onto the University of Phoenix stadium field in Glendale. There, Arizona team officials presented the Payson players and cheer squad with a champion banner. The team was also introduced to the capacity crowd.
Quarterback Ridge Halenar, who was among those team members to travel to the game, was impressed with the visit.
“It was awesome, being out in front of all those people and getting recognized for the state championship,” he said.
As guests of the Cardinals, the players took in the game from end zone seats in the “Red Zone” where many of the team’s most fervent fans can be found.
Arizona won the game 34-21 and will now play host on Jan. 3 to the Atlanta Falcons. The last time the Cards were in the playoffs was 1998 when former Arizona State star Jake Plummer quarterbacked the Cardinals to a win over Dallas.