The 2004 prep football campaign kicked off at 5:30 a.m. Monday for prospective members of the Phoenix Greenway and Payson High teams.
The start came in the form of a football training camp that second-year head coach Jerry Rhoades hopes to use to jump start to a successful football season.
About 50 prospective PHS players turned out. The Greenway coaching staff brought about 90 players to Payson to escape the searing desert heat.
During the camp, players from both schools are living in the old PHS gymnasium.
Rhoades will spend much of the camp time introducing the players to a new offensive system. Last season, the team ran a Wing-T offense that was used by two previous PHS football coaches.
At times, the Wing-T clicked on all cylinders, but other times it sputtered.
According to Rhoades, the team will abandon the Wing-T in favor of a wide open triple-option attack. Mike Loutzenheiser will replace David Daniels as the offensive coordinator. Daniels resigned his teaching and coaching position last spring to accept a job with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Defensively, Rhoades will retain the 4-3 scheme he has coached since he was the defensive coordinator at Mingus High School three years ago. He will, however, change some of the terminology he previously used.
A typical day begins at 5:30 a.m. with agility drills, conditioning and stretching.
After breakfast and a chalk talk by the offensive coaches, the team has an 8:30 a.m. workout that focuses on the new offense.
Loutzenheiser's task during those sessions will be to teach the new "O" to the returning backfield veterans. They included quarterback Donnie Wilbanks, fullback Tyler Williams and running backs James Gibson and Luke Apfel. In the trenches, returning starters include linemen Kevin Allen, Greg Barnes, Nick DeGroot and Kyle Sachak.
Team and individual offensive competitions begin at 11 a.m. and continue until noon when lunch is served.
After a 2 p.m. chalk talk by defensive coaches, an afternoon workout is held focusing on defense and special teams.
Defensively, much of the workload will fall this season on the shoulder pads of returning Mike linebacker Cash Armstrong.
The evening meal is at 5:30. Passing league 7-on-7 games begin at 7 p.m. and continue until about 9 p.m.
Although players were not required to have physical exams to participate in the camp, they must be completed by the start of preseason practices. All players must contact their family doctors to make arrangements for the exams.
For more information, call Rhoades at (928) 474-2233.