By Kailey Gilbert
The Cedar Reds wrapped up their football season successfully during a global pandemic, especially for one player in particular. Payton Murray, number four on Cedar High School’s team, was awarded the Spectrum Defensive Player of the Year. Voted by parents, athletes, and students across Region 9, the award aims to highlight the efforts made by individual players who go above and beyond on the field. Competing against Awsten Turnbow from Desert Hills, McKade Fielding from Dixie, and Rick Mua’e from Pine View, Payton Murray triumphed. He gives the Cedar High football team one more thing to take pride in.
Having played as a linebacker for the last two years on the team, Murray reflects on his love for football and the time he’s put into it. “My parents put me into little league football when I was in first grade, and I played on the third grade team,” he said. From a young age, Murray showed passion for the sport. “I’ve worked hard at practices and in games. I always try to be the best I can be for my team,” he said, “Football has taught me how to work hard, not just on the field, but [also] in life.” With years of blood, sweat, and tears going into the sport, Murray takes pride in his place on the team.
After his last year of playing with the Cedar High football team, Murray appears excited to be voted for this award. “It’s a new experience,” he said when asked about being the Spectrum Defensive Player of the Year. He recognizes the hard work that it took to get him to where he is today. “I’ve been happy with the season,” he said, but expressed that this year has also felt “heartbreaking because I’ll never play football again.” Walking off the field for the final time with his team, Murray has given others an example to follow. His legacy is one to respect. The memories and lessons that Murray has gained from football will live on and affect his life for years to come.
With a year surrounded by a gloomy fog of the global pandemic, it’s difficult not to wonder how the season had been affected. With masks required on the sidelines and social distancing for the players and students, the year would seem to have been bogged down by the constant threat. However, athletes and students alike have rallied around one another and created an atmosphere as close to normal as possible. As the year proceeds, the hope that other sports will also continue under student mandates endures. Each and every person has a part to play if sports are to continue as planned. Cedar High looks forward to a future of athletes and the dedication they possess.