Three MP football players in California for all-star game - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Three MP football players in California for all-star game

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Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013 11:49 am | Updated: 2:37 pm, Tue Nov 19, 2013.

The Mountain Pointe football team went on quite a ride this season so why not get one more road trip out of three seniors before heading off to different destinations after graduation.

And if they can help represent Arizona in an all-star game against southern California that’s all the better.

“I’m a competitive person,” Travonn White said. “We are putting on the pads, I am playing hard. We have a lot of talent here and we are going there to win.”

The Pride trio, which also includes Garette Craig and Landry Payne, are playing in the Canyon-Coast Classic on Monday at Riverside Community College in Riverside, Calif.

The Arizona team headed out on Thursday in order to practice a little bit before the 1:30 p.m. game. It will be broadcast on FoxSports Arizona.

The Arizona team is being guided by local community college coaches as the Arizona Interscholastic Association bylaws do not allow all-star games during the school year.

It has stopped the Arizona high school coaches from participating, but has not put a damper on what the Arizona squad wants to accomplish.

Many of the players participating are not committed to a college yet and with the national letter of intent day coming up on Feb. 6, it pretty much guarantees the competitive juices will be flowing.

That’s never a problem with the Pride trio.

“We want to represent and win for our state,” Craig said. “It’s a good opportunity for all of us.”

Craig, who was one of the state’s top all-round offensive players this season, has had smaller Division I programs like San Jose State show interest but no official offers.

The 5-foot-11, 154-pounder did most of this damage running the ball (1,563 yards, 16 TDs), but also threw for two touchdowns in two attempts, caught 33 passes with seven touchdowns, scored on a kickoff return and can play defensive back as well.

“I’m ready to play wherever,” Craig said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I hope I can get that opportunity.”

Payne, a 5-10, 168-pound linebacker, plays much bigger than he is after finishing second on the team with 92 tackles. He also had seven sacks, two interceptions, and for good measure averaged 19.5 yards a carry on 13 attempts with three scores.

He will have to start at a community college because of academics, but if he can be focused he will be a nice find for a bigger program down the line.

White’s situation is intriguing in that he is getting some attention in football — Fresno State and Northern Arizona — but the real attention is coming from track programs like Oregon and LSU after breaking the school record in the long jump last spring, surpassing Olympic medalist Will Claye.

He hopes to play both if possible, but is open to finding a home in either sport.

“Football is my favorite sport and I feel like I can get better,” said the 5-10, 155-pound safety. “I’m hearing from (stronger) programs in track, but we will see.”

Wherever they all land next season, they couldn’t wait for the road trip.

“It’s going to be something we all remember,” White said. “We made sure we were roommates and we’re going to take it all in and enjoy it.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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