Sarnowski, Chapman Honored

Longhorn gridiron pair 1st team all-section

This diving over-the-shoulder catch at Fountain Hills was just one of several highlight-reel receptions for Tyus Sarnowski that helped the senior earn plenty of postseason accolades.

This diving over-the-shoulder catch at Fountain Hills was just one of several highlight-reel receptions for Tyus Sarnowski that helped the senior earn plenty of postseason accolades. Photo by Keith Morris. |

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Wyatt Chapman spearheaded the Longhorns’ rushing attack with 1,660 yards and 12 TDs.

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The 2013 Payson High School varsity football team.

How important were Wyatt Chapman and Tyus Sarnowski to Payson’s offense in 2013?

Very.

In fact, the pair accounted for 77 percent of the Longhorns’ yards from scrimmage and 67 percent of their touchdowns. PHS ran for 2,081 yards and passed for 1,287, for a total of 3,368 yards. Chapman (50 percent) and Sarnowski (27 percent) accounted for 2,595 of those yards. Chapman and Sarnowski combined to score 22 of Payson’s 33 offensive TDs.

Fittingly, both were honored on First Team Offense on the Arizona Football Coaches Association Division IV All-Section V Football Team in voting by coaches. Sophomore fullback-linebacker Brian Skinner made the Second Team and senior defensive lineman-tight end William Youngberg, senior linebacker-running back Jake Ames and senior quarterback-defensive back Miguel Mendoza were Honorable Mention.

Chapman and Sarnowski also made the first team on the all-section team voted on by coaches at aia365.com. Additionally, Sarnowski made the Second Team Offense on The Arizona Republic’s Div. IV All-State Team. Youngberg was Second Team Defense and Chapman was Honorable Mention.

Sarnowski was Payson’s Team Most Valuable Player. Chapman was the Longhorns’ Offensive MVP and Youngberg the Defensive MVP. Senior Jesus Apodaca was selected Payson’s Lineman of the Year. Three players — Mendoza and fellow seniors Austin Conway (DT-OG) and L.A. Jacquez (DE-OT) — won the Longhorn Award, which goes to the player or players who “comes out every day, gives it everything they’ve got and is just somebody who pretty much fits the mold of what we want a Longhorn to be, a good teammate,” said Payson head coach Jake Swartwood. Mendoza was also a Longhorn Award winner as a junior.

Sarnowski came up with several highlight reel receptions, including one at Fountain Hills that will long remain in the memory of those who were there to see it. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior caught 55 passes for 898 yards (16.3 average) and 10 touchdowns. He also had 45 tackles and a fumble recovery as a defensive back.

“Giving Tyus the MVP Award for our team speaks volumes and he’s truly that,” said Swartwood. “As much as he did for our offense, he was also the quarterback of our defense. He puts people in the best position to successful. He’s an irreplaceable player. He could start on any team in the division and, we feel, any team in Arizona, as well, no matter the division.”

Sarnowski had a trio of 100-yard receiving games. His biggest night came in the Longhorns’ 44-10 win at Page on Sept. 6, as he snagged eight passes for 180 yards and four TDs, including one for 77 yards. He caught eight balls for 166 yards and a TD in a 55-14 loss at Fountain Hills on Oct. 4. He totaled 141 yards and a score on seven receptions in a 20-7 win over Glendale on Sept. 20.

“He doesn’t have blinding speed, but he has a great ability to high point the ball,” Swartwood said. “He times the ball perfectly and goes up and has good wing span and he has really good body control. Defenders really don’t have a chance, especially if they’re in single coverage.

“We’ve seen him make phenomenal catches for the last three years. And he has grit. He’s not afraid to go across the middle.”

Swartwood is confident that Sarnowski can play at the next level.

“He got a little bit of a scholarship offer from Dakota State,” his coach said. “We feel he’s got a chance to go to a school that size or bigger. He’s a well-round player who can play wide receiver, cornerback, safety and linebacker. We anticipate him having more offers.”

Chapman appears to be headed for a college football career if he comes anywhere near duplicating the kind of year he had this season in his final two years at Payson. The 6-foot, 175-pound Chapman used his blazing speed to run 225 times for 1,660 yards (7.4 avg.) and 12 TDs. He averaged 150.9 rushing yards per game. Chapman also caught four passes for 37 yards (9.3 avg.).

He rushed for 100 yards in eight of PHS’s 11 games, coming up one yard shy of the century mark at Fountain Hills. Chapman ran for 200 or more yards three times. He rushed for 272 yards and five TDs on 22 carries in the Longhorns’ 67-35 win over Globe on Oct. 11, 216 yards and three TDs on 18 carries in a 28-21 loss at Parker on Sept. 13 and 200 yards on one TD on 30 totes in a 57-20 loss at Snowflake on Oct. 18.

“Wyatt ended up 15th in the nation (in rushing yards) for all sophomores,” Swartwood said. “He’s got Division I (college football) speed. His ability to score on every play is phenomenal. We had the guys buy into what we were telling them, which is, ‘if you block for a one and a half seconds, he can run for a touchdown. You’ve just got to open a lane to allow him to get his hips through and he’s gone.’ A lot of his TDs came on isolation plays running through tackles.

“He didn’t have a lot of touchdowns on sweeps. Teams played us for those sweeps. We’d show the sweep early then run him through tackles. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to run it with him 20 times a game but he doesn’t get tired and is an engine that just keeps going for us.”

The coach is thrilled to have him back for two more seasons.

“That’s a great asset to have a sophomore run for 100 yards a game,” Swartwood said. “That’s a great asset for the team and for the future of your team. He’s got top Division I speed. We’re very excited to have him and Brian (Skinner) back for the next two years and see what they can do.”

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