The Rim country is the home of four youth football teams locked in the midst of the battle for postseason honors -- the Bears, Broncos, Buccaneers and Raiders.
In the majors division of the Central Arizona Football Association, of which Payson is a member, the Raiders are rolling along with a 7-0 record and huge favorites to win the title.
The Raiders' sterling record is no surprise. Last year, the team was 10-0 and league champions. In 2002, the Raiders compiled a 10-1 mark.
The CAYFA major division runner-up, Chino Valley Trojans, are 6-1 but were no sweat for the Raiders when the two collided Oct. 23 in Chino Valley. The Raiders rolled to a convincing 22-0 win.
According to Raiders coach Billy Hardt, the team started slow and was error prone mostly because they were antsy about meeting another undefeated team.
In the CAYFA minors division, the Payson Broncos are 6-1 and atop the standings. The Broncs only loss was Sept. 11 in Show Low where Payson fell 24-8 to the Cottonwood Colts.
In the mighty mite division, the Payson Buccaneers have posted a 5-1 record and are alone in first place. The runner-up Payson Bears remain in contention with a 4-2 mark. When the two Payson teams met Oct. 2 on PHS field, the clash turned into a barn burner before the Bucs survived a 14-12 scare.
Also for Payson, the Wildcats are 2-5 in the minors division and in the major division, the Eagles have posted 4-3 credentials.
Regular season action continues Oct. 30 with three games on the Payson High School football field. At 9 a.m., the Payson Broncos lock horns with the Payson Wildcats. Immediately after, about 11 a.m., the Bears and Buccaneers are set for a rematch that all players, coaches parents and fans are eagerly anticipating. The day's final game, at 12:30 p.m., will pit the Raiders against the Camp Verde Bulldogs.
The Payson Eagles travel to Eagar/Round Valley to take on the homestanding Elks at noon.