Horns Awol In Preseason Rankings

Snub could give team advantage of surprise over opponents

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The Longhorn football team and its players are being overlooked in almost every preseason poll and prognostication.

Those slights, however, could turn into a blessing down the road allowing the Horns to ambush unwary teams that might take Payson High School lightly.

Among the outlets ignoring the Longhorns is 24-7football.com, which recently released its list of Division IV’s top 10 teams.

In the rankings Blue Ridge is rated No. 1 and the Horns are nowhere to be found.

Mingus, a school the Horns play Oct. 7, is ranked second, Coolidge is third and Show Low fourth.

The Horns play Show Low Sept. 2.

Rounding out the top 10 are Snowflake (5), Buckeye (6), Seton Catholic (7), Coronado (8), Fountain Hills (9) and Florence (10).

Payson has a golden opportunity to test the validity of Fountain Hills’ ranking when the two meet on Sept. 9.

Individually, no Longhorns can be found on Scout Foxsports.com’s top running back prospects for 2011 or its “Watch List.” No Longhorns are on azcentral.com’s Top 100 Seniors for 2011 compiled by Richard Obert.

The Scout rankings of the state’s best running backs includes Blue Ridge junior Chans Cox at No. 20 and Coolidge’s Seth Ellis at No. 13.

Northwestern Christian’s Casey Jahn is ranked No. 5. The remainder of the honorees are mostly from the “big school” ranks.

Heber Mogollon’s Boone Baker is on the top running back “Watch List.”

Obert’s Top 100 Seniors includes Show Low’s Josh Weeks (No. 5) and Brian Johnson (No. 95).

Weeks, who has committed to Brigham Young University, is drawing rave reviews around Arizona as one of the best wide receivers and defensive backs in the western states.

Although he played those positions last year during the Cougars’ state championship run, there are hints that this season he might see some playing time at quarterback, especially when Show Low goes to a wildcat formation.

With the onset of the season only weeks away, Longhorn players not being recognized will have the opportunity to prove they are indeed worthy of a few pats on the back, especially when they are going toe-to-toe against those teams that earned top 10 preseason rankings.

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