Draft Over, Youth Football Begins

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Players were drafted for the six teams of the Payson Youth Football Association Monday night, and the result is what association president Eric Santana calls an "even playing field."

"The players have been coming out to practice for the past two weeks, giving the coaches a chance to look them over," Santana said. "With the draft last night, it keeps everything pretty fair; it keeps us from stacking one team over the other."

The teams are divided into two categories the Majors, boys 10 to 12 years old who weigh 60 to 110 pounds; and the Minors, boys 6 to 9 years old who weigh 45 to 90 pounds.

The three Major teams are Jimbo Armstrong's Eagles, Dick Nielson's Buccaneers and Billy Hardt's Raiders. The Minors are Mark Henning's Cardinals, Mike Conway's Bears and John Lenzmeier's Cowboys. Games are played every Saturday, beginning with away games Sept. 9 against Prescott. League action continues until the end of October or the first part of November, and wraps up with a championship game at the Skydome at Northern Arizona University.

"This year, I think all six teams have a tremendous opportunity to advance to the championship," Santana said. "I think we have some really good teams this year, not just one dominant one."

To catch a glimpse of Payson Youth Football action, practices are held at the Rumsey Park multi-purpose field throughout the week, from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

"Spectators are welcome at the practices, as well as the games," Santana said.

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