Payson High’s reputation for turning out all-star caliber football players took a big hit June 22, when not a single Longhorn played in the Arizona Football Coaches Association Division IV vs. Division V-VI all-star game in Surprise Stadium.
Being shut out is in sharp contrast to past seasons when several Longhorns were usually invited to play and often excelled.
In 2006, Luke Apfel was named the star clash’s most valuable player finishing, with 120 yards rushing, 68 of which came on a game-opening TD run.
In 1987, four players — Ty Goodman, Ty Chilson, Mark Velasco and Matt Rambo, represented the Horns in the all-star game. All were starters.
During those years, having a foursome chosen was almost unheard of in all-star football selections.
A year earlier, when only a single all-star game was played with athletes from all school size classifications battling for selection honors and playing time, Payson High was represented by Curt Rambo and Mark Hanna.
Having two players from a small, Class A school on an all-star team loaded with big-school players clutching lucrative university football scholarships was a boon for Payson High football.
The gridiron acknowledgements that have consistently flowed in, however, ended Friday when not a single PHS player was included in the Division 4 all-star game.
Snowflake and Fountain Hills were well represented with four players each. State champion Blue Ridge and cross-town rival Show Low had three players chosen.
Rex Bowser of Seton Catholic was head coach of the all-star team. Jim Fairfield (Fountain Hills), Ron Tenney (Snowflake) and Jeff Spiwak (Parker) assisted Bowser.
In the game, the Division IV All-Stars defeated Divisions V-VI 38-13.
Coolidge running back Seth Ellis was named the MVP.
Show Low star on All-Arizona team
In the Arizona vs. Southern California all-star game played Saturday at Surprise Stadium, smalltown Arizona was represented by a single player — Show Low wide receiver Josh Weeks.
All the remaining all-stars represent Division I and II metropolitan area “big schools.”
Weeks has received a full football scholarship to Brigham Young University, but before reporting will serve a church mission.
Most Payson fans are probably happy to see Weeks graduate after watching him sometimes single-handedly dismantle Longhorn football teams over the past three seasons.
The Arizona All-Stars beat So-Cal, 20-16.