Payson High School Athletic Director Barry Smith finally found a preseason scrimmage opponent for the defending-state-champion Longhorn football team after weeks of scouring the state.
Tuba City, of the Class 3A North Division, has agreed to participate in a controlled scrimmage against the Longhorns at 4 p.m. Aug. 27 in Payson.
Longhorn Coach Jim Beall is breathing a huge sigh of relief that his team finally has a foe to scrimmage.
The annual scrimmages are one of the most valuable sessions teams have to help prepare for the upcoming season. Players get their first taste of game-like play and coaches have the opportunity to assess players when a win-loss record is not on the line.
If Smith had not found a foe, the Horns would have reluctantly settled for an intrasquad scrimmage. That would mean the players would undergo more of the same teammate head-banging they have toiled through since practices opened Aug. 9.
Problems with an originally scheduled scrimmage against Glendale High arose in late summer when the Cardinals backed out of an agreement to participate.
In controlled scrimmages, there are no kickoffs or punts, and coaches are allowed on the field to work with the players and talk to officials.
There is no admission charge.
Pool closes early
Taylor Pool was to remain open until Tuesday --the day before Payson Public School classes began. But, the pool had to close Aug. 15 due to a lack of lifeguards.
As in past years, most of the guards departed in mid-August to return to college classes or participate in fall sports at Payson High School. The guards' early exit from Taylor leaves the pool without an adequate supply of personnel.
Each spring, the Parks and Recreation Department tries to rectify the problem by hiring guards not in school or not playing sports. The past several years, officials have tried to lure older, senior-aged lifeguards, but the move has not been successful. Also, Recreation Coordinator Beth Kreider says the pool will not reopen over the three-day Labor Day break for economic reasons.
The department would have to purchase chemicals for pool upkeep until the holiday. Any chemicals remaining could not be used next summer and would waste.
Stay ends at Tontozona
The Arizona State University Sun Devil football team wraps up its 10-day stay at Camp Tontozona with an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday from 9:45 a.m. until noon.
Fans are welcome free of charge, but if you're planning to attend, go early. Devils' disciples from the Valley traditionally flock to the mountain retreat for an early-season glimpse of the Devils. In light of last year's dismal 5-6 showing, the team might not attract the overflow crowds it did during the Devils' 1997 run for the roses.
Camp Tontozona is located 17 miles east of Payson on the south side of Highway 260.
Shriners tee off
The Zane Grey Shrine Club's annual golf tournament will be Aug. 20 at Payson Golf Course.
Tee time is noon, and the format is four-man scramble. Players are encouraged to join in.
Entry forms are available at PGC.