The fall sports schedules for Payson High School's inaugural go-around in the Class 4A Grand Canyon Region have been finalized.
Putting the final touches on the slates was a daunting and time-consuming task for athletic director Dave Bradley and his staff.
Because PHS is new to 4A, a complete revision of previous schedules had to be done. Payson also had to find a way to fit into the overall scheme of a region that was gaining a new member.
Because the larger 4A conference is not quite as tight-knit as the 3A East Region, of which Payson had long been a member, Bradley had to blend in with the nuances of the way schedules are put together among the 4A schools.
The first Longhorn athletes to test the waters in 4A action will be head coach Chris Schwind's volleyball charges who will open the season Friday, Aug. 29 against a longtime 3A conference foe, Blue Ridge. Game time is 6:30 p.m. in Lakeside.
The highlight of the home season for the Lady Longhorns will be the annual Payson Invitational Sept. 5 and 6 in Wilson Dome.
Each year, the tournament attracts some of the best teams in the state regardless of school size classification.
The football squad of first-year head coach Jerry Rhoades is slated to open against Glendale Cortez at 7 p.m. the same day (Aug. 29) in PHS stadium.
As a member of the 4A conference, the golf team will now play in the winter season rather than the spring as it did when PHS was a 3A school.
Coach Bret Morse has indicated that the move could be a plus for the linksters. The real advantage, he said, will be the weather.
Fall conditions in Flagstaff and Phoenix -- where the 4A state tournament will be played --re much more conducive to the sport than spring weather in the White Mountains, where the team formerly played.
In past years, the golfers have often battled snow and sleet in communities like Snowflake, Show Low and Lakeside.
The golf season tees of at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2 at Rim Golf Course in a nine-hole match against Mingus, Sinagua and Page. All three schools are members of the Grand Canyon Region.
A real plus on the schedule is the regional tournament to be held Oct. 29 and 30 at Chaparral Pines.
Since PHS joined the 4A ranks, Morse has lobbied to have the qualifying tournament played on the Longhorns' home course.
"It's a real advantage," he said.
The last team to jump into fall action will be coach Chuck Hardt's cross country team. The squad will debut at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 3 at Payson Golf Course.