November 8, 2011
The Longhorn boys soccer team made a surprising run to the final four of the “state” soccer tournament, but lost to Blue Ridge.
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The good news for the Longhorns in a Division IV “State” tournament semifinal game against two-time defending state champion Blue Ridge was that Payson scored for the first time in three meetings against the Yellow Jackets. The score was on Sam Grassel’s penalty kick. The bad news, however, is the Jackets scored a trio of goals, winning a 3-1 thriller on Nov. 5 at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert. The loss eliminated Payson from the tournament, but only after the Horns put on one of the most amazing showings in the history of the program. “We more than held our own,” said coach Chris Avakian. “We knew all along they (the players) had it in them.” Payson snuck into the tournament as the 12th and final seed pitted against No. 5 Snowflake. Prior to the state opener, few gave the Horns a chance of winning, mostly because days earlier the Lobos had beaten the Longhorns, 3-0.