The Longhorn boys soccer team’s 2012 varsity debut wasn’t the success coach Chris Avakian was hoping for.
“In fact, it was horrible,” the coach said.
Playing the opener Sept. 8 at Rumsey Park, the Horns fell behind Chino Valley early, 1-0, then continued to struggle, eventually losing 3-0.
“It (the loss) was on me,” Avakian said. “I gave up our defense to get some offense and it didn’t work.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have moved the defense.”
A talented Cougar team that could be on the crux of a banner year might have inflicted Payson’s defeat, as hard as it was to absorb.
Evidence Chino was going to be good turned up in a preseason scrimmage against Blue Ridge.
In it, Chino lost just 2-1 to a Yellow Jacket team that has been ranked No. 1 in the nation by Maxpreps.
Individually for Payson vs. Chino, Avakian cited defender Logan Morris, a standout off last year’s state semifinals team, for his stellar play.
In the loss, the Horns were without the services of Kaylan Hinton who was sidelined by injuries.
Avakian expects Hinton to return to the team to play today, Sept. 11, vs. Thunderbird Adventist Academy at Rumsey Park. Game time is 6 p.m.
The coach says he doesn’t know what to expect from Thunderbird because its early in the season and scouting reports are tough to come by or incomplete.
On Sept. 13 in Lakeside, the Horns will have the opportunity for a bit of revenge against a Yellow Jacket team that ousted PHS from last year’s state tournament with a 3-1 semifinal win.
The Jackets have won three-consecutive state championships and are on a 50-plus game winning streak.