Fall sports schedules for Payson High School's second year as a member of the 4A Conference Grand Canyon region have been finalized.
The schedules are for freshmen, jayvee and varsity teams in football, volleyball, golf and cross country.
The first Longhorn team to spring into action will be the football squad which opens Aug. 27 at Glendale Cortez.
Because the team opens a week earlier than other sports, AIA rules allow the team to begin preseason practices Aug. 2.
The other three sports cannot begin practicing until Aug. 9.
The current PHS football schedules list a 7 p.m. Aug. 20 scrimmage in Payson against the Snowflake Lobos. Snowflake school officials have pulled out of that commitment and PHS athletic director Dave Bradley is in the midst of searching to find a replacement team. If an opponent cannot be found, coach Jerry Rhoades said he would probably host an intersquad scrimmage that day.
The 2004 homecoming game, at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 vs. Prescott, will cap homecoming week for all PHS students and alumni.
At the net
The Lady Longhorn volleyball team, under new coach Arnold Stonebrink, has a preseason scrimmage set for 6:30 p.m. in Wilson Dome against the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets.
The highlight of the home season is the Payson Invitational Sept. 3 and 4 in Wilson Dome. Each year, the tournament draws 18 of the finest 3A and 4A
teams from around the state. During the first day of play, the teams battle in three pools of six teams each. On the second day, the top three teams from each pool clash in a double-elimination championship bracket. The lower three teams from pool play meet in a double elimination consolation bracket.
The almost two full days of non-stop action will provide Stonebrink with plenty of opportunities to evaluate his players.
Champs look for repeat
The defending Grand Canyon regional champion PHS golf team -- which is still adjusting to playing in the winter rather than the fall -- opens Aug. 31 in a nine-hole tournament hosted by Scottsdale Chaparral. Cactus Shadows and Saguaro also will participate.
In putting together the schedule, coach Bret Morse was able to use the Harvey Pennick Invitational as a good opportunity for his young players to mature.
"I wanted to get as much competition as we could early in the season," Morse said.
The tournament will be played in a nine-hole format Sept. 7 to 9 and a championship 18 hole match Sept. 11.
The Sept. 9 tournament will be played at The Rim Club. The other Pennick matches will be played in the Valley.
Tournament teams include Chaparral and Cactus Shadows.
Although the Horns will play a minimum of three nine-hole matches during the stint, the invitational is a tournament so it will only count as one match in the AIA-mandated maximum of 14 a team may play.
The GC regional championships will not be held at Chaparral Pines and the Rim Club as they were last year. Rather, they will be hosted by Flagstaff Sinagua at a site not yet chosen.
The 4A state championships will be played at The Duke course near Buckeye.
Dates for regional and state play have not been selected.
Run for gold
The last teams to begin the new season will be the boys and girls cross country squads.
The season begins Sept. 8 with the traditional Payson Golf Course run. Scottsdale Christian, Blue Ridge and Sinagua will participate.
Among the highlights will be the Sept. 24 Sludge to the Judge run down Main Street. The event precedes the PHS homecoming parade.
North Dame, Blue Ridge, Mingus and Tucson Mountain View have indicated they would participate.
For the regional championships, the two PHS teams will have to make the long trek to Page Oct. 30.
The state meet is slated for Nov. 6. A site is not listed but it's usually held at Anthem north of Phoenix.
See fall sports schedules in the Tuesday, July 27 print edition of the Payson Roundup.