Munchkin Madness

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The Arizona Cardinals are gearing up for a Flagstaff training camp, the ASU Sun Devils are prepping for pre-season sessions at Camp Tontozona and the Payson Youth Football League is planning practices at Rumsey Park.

Youth preseason sessions, about two hours in duration, begin at 5 p.m. July 30 on the Rumsey Park multi-purpose field. Sessions will continue each weekday until the campaign culminates in November.

At the conclusion of the regular season, playoffs are held and league champions crowned.

After the season kicks off Sept. 8 in Prescott, games will be played each Saturday. Teams from Prescott, Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Bagdad, Williams, Sedona and Chino Valley also will participate in the youth football league

Although the plans for the Payson season have not finalized, PYFA official Eric Santana said he expects the Rim country to field at least six teams in the league. The three age/weight divisions youngsters can participate in are Pee Wee (6 to 8 years), Minors (8 to 10 years) and Majors (10 to 12 years).

After the first two weeks of preseason training and tryouts, Payson coaches will participate in a draft in which they will select players based on their performances. At that time, the young athletes will be placed in their proper age/weight division.

For those who missed the spring registration for both players and cheerleaders, a final sign-up will be held at the first day of practice July 30. Registration is $50 per player and $35 for cheerleaders. All participants must bring a copy of their birth certificate and a recent physical exam report to the sign-up.

If vacancies exist on any of the teams after the final registration, officials will accept late sign-ups at $60 per player and $45 for cheerleaders.

Registration forms are available at Santana's Farm Bureau Insurance Agency, located at 100 W. Roundup. Call Santana (474-1775) or Hugh Schrank (474-5613) for more information.

Payin' for the program

Each year, Santana and his crew of gridiron volunteers scamper to earn funds to purchase the almost endless supply of equipment needed in the sport.

Earlier this spring, a benefit golf tournament was held at Payson Golf Course.

Also on the PYFA agenda is a raffle for a Martin Phantom bow, donated by Pine Country Outfitters. Tickets are $5 each, and the prize includes a quiver and sights.

"It's very well equipped," Santana said.

The bow will be raffled off at the league's annual awards banquet, traditionally held at the conclusion of each season in the Tonto Apache gymnasium.

A final date for the ceremonies hasn't been set, but Santana expects it to be held in mid-November.

Although most of the head coaching positions in the association have been filled, assistants and other volunteers are needed.

To help out, call Santana for more information (474-1775).

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