Coach Picks Three Of Four

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Byron Quinlan

Payson High School football coach Byron Quinlan was three-fourths correct when he predicted the state tournament final four would feature only East teams.

He made the prediction because he figures the East was far and away the most competitive region in the 3A conference.

When results were in from Nov. 13 elite eight games, it was three East teams that advanced to the semifinals.

The only East school not to make it was the Round Valley Elks, who lost 35-21 to the Florence Gophers.

It was Round Valley who eliminated Payson from the postseason, whipping the Horns 30-14 in the opening round on Nov. 6.

The surprise of quarterfinal play had to be a clash involving No. 2 seeded Blue Ridge and No. 7 Fountain Hills.

While 3A top-ranked and unbeaten Blue Ridge clipped the Falcons 20-14, almost everyone was expecting powerful BR to win in a rout.

The fact FH played on even terms with the talented, tough and well-coached Yellow Jackets is a testament to the dedication of Falcon players and coaches.

Also in quarterfinal action, Show Low caged the Winslow Bulldogs 62-42, and Snowflake ended a two-decade drought against Coolidge by beating the Bears 29-28.

In final four action on Nov. 20 at Paradise Valley High School, Snowflake plays Show Low at 7 p.m.

At 4 p.m. also at PVHS, Blue Ridge and Florence meet.

The state championship will be decided 5 p.m., Nov. 27 at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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