Although nary a Longhorn football player was chosen when the Division IV All-State teams were announced on Sunday, several athletes Payson played during the course of the season were acknowledged.
The honoree probably best known in the Rim Country is Snowflake’s Chase Walden a 6-foot-1-inch, 175-pound senior.
Walden attended Payson schools until just after his sophomore year at PHS when his family moved to Snowflake.
There, he became one of the Lobos finest all-around athletes excelling in football, basketball and track and field. He was named to the all-state second team as an all-purpose player despite missing several early season games due to a knee injury.
Walden’s Lobo teammate, Reggie Peterson, 6 feet, 4 inches, 230 pounds, was named a first team offensive lineman. SHS star Doug Brimhall was named first team tight end and Rick Shumway was named a first team defensive back.
Payson players are all too familiar with the Lobo standouts.
Show Low, a longtime Payson rival, had one player named first team offense and two tapped to the first team defense and another to the specialist team as a punter.
State runner-up Blue Ridge had three players chosen first team offense, two named first team defense and one first team long snapper.
Blue Ridge having five first team selections and Seton Catholic taking just three is somewhat unusual in that the Yellow Jackets were manhandled by the Sentinels in the D-IV state championship game.
Traditionally, the team that collects all the marbles is the one with the most honorees.
Although PHS was shut-out in its bid for all-division honorees, the Longhorns did have five who received All-Section IV laurels.
R.J. Cox, a 5-foot-7-inch, 165-pound running back and corner back, was named to the first team as a punt returner. During the past season, Cox returned two punts for touchdowns, prompting opposing coaches to often instruct their punters to kick away from him.
Eric Vohs, a 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pound wide receiver, defensive end, punter and kicker was tapped D-IV second team.
During their year, Vohs averaged about 41 yards per punt and dropped six inside the 10-yard line, which is the mark of a standout punter.
Kyle Brown, Tyus Sarnowski and Sam Boatman received honorable mention honors from coaches.