When high school coaches gather each postseason to cast their votes for all-section and all-division honorees, the scenario is best summed up, “To the victors belong the spoils.”
Which is why individual players on state champion Chandler Seton Catholic and runner-up Blue Ridge will be reaping most of the section and division laurels.
But Payson, which finished 6-5 under first-year coach Jake Swartwood, fared reasonably well in the Section IV coaches’ voting, landing a first team player, second team honoree and three honorable mentions.
R.J. Cox, a 5-foot, 7-inch 165-pound running back and corner back, was named to the S-IV 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.
For the Longhorns, Brown held down starting honors at both guard and could play any of the three linebacker positions. He often emerged as the defensive leader, especially in a win over Miami when he and fellow defenders held the Vandals’ star running back to 17 yards on 12 carries.
Sarnowski, the team’s starting quarterback last season, moved to wide receiver on offense and was often signal caller Gunner Goodman’s favorite target.
Boatman, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 175-pound running back, teamed with Cox to give the Longhorn spread option offense a one-two punch.
Boatman was at his finest in the Horns’ 44-0 shellacking of Miami when he returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a TD and scored later in the half on a 61-yard run.
All Division IV honorees have not yet been announced, but Swartwood does not expect any PHS players to be chosen partly because the competition is so fierce in a division that includes 30-plus schools.
Also, members of the Arizona Football Coaches Association will gather Dec. 1, to select all-star players who will participate in the annual North vs. South game next summer. Only seniors are eligible to be chosen.