Coaching Alums Face Off In Valley

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A pair of former Payson High School football coaches were on opposite sidelines Friday evening when the Queen Creek Bulldogs played host to the Higley Knights.

Bulldog coach Curt LeBlanc served as an assistant to Higley coach Jim Beall on the 1998 Longhorn football team that finished undefeated and won the class 3A state championship. In Friday's 3A regional clash between Higley and Queen Creek, the Bulldogs came from behind to win 35-6.

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In the 1998 state championship game at Mesa College, the Longhorns were coached by Jim Beall and Curt LeBlanc. In the game, the Horns defeated the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.

With the victory, LeBlanc's squad has an 8-1 record. Beall's charges fell to 5-4.

It's been a few years since the pair coached alongside one another. But while in Payson, both had similar offensive and defensive philosophies.

It's possible the gridiron showdown turned into mirror images of one another.

Volleyball to begin

Registration for men's and women's volleyball begins on Monday, Nov. 1 and will continue through Wednesday, Nov. 24. Games begin the week of Dec. 6. The registration fee is $175 per team. Competitive and recreational divisions will be offered with a minimum of four teams.

For more information, call Recreation Specialist Charlene Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

Punt, Pass and Kick today

The NFL Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick competition is coming to Payson.

The annual gridiron showdown for boys and girls 8 to 15-years-of-age will be held 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26 on the Rumsey II ball field.

The youngsters will compete in age/sex divisions for the right to advance to sectional competition. Those who win sectional honors earn the right to participate in the state championship.

In the event, the competitors' distance and accuracy is measured in passing, punting and kicking the football. There is no entry fee.

Entry forms are available at the parks and recreation offices located at Green Valley Park.

Call town recreation specialist Charlene Hunt at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 fore more information.

5A splits; is 4A next?

The 5A conference's decision last week to split into two divisions, beginning with the 2005-2006 school year, could have set the stage for the 4A conference to do the same.

Under the new rules, 5A will be split by enrollment, with 28 of the largest schools making up Division I and the 24 smaller schools making up Division II.

If the 4A conference decides to do a similar split, it might have PHS athletic director Dave Bradley mulling over re-entering the conference.

According to Bradley, if a 4A small school region that includes East Valley teams like Queen Creek, Higley and Apache Junction is formed, the possibility exists Payson could petition the AIA to rejoin the 4A conference and be aligned in the East valley region.

Such a conference and regional placement would be highly beneficial to PHS students because there would be less travel time and during winter trips there wouldn't be snow-covered roads as it was when Payson was in the East and Grand Canyon regions.

For now, Payson High will be a 3A school next year awaiting a regional assignment.

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