Little League Gears Up Early

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It's fall and the smell of pigskin permeates the Rim country air. But the gridiron aura hasn't slowed a group of Payson volunteer Little League officials from focusing their attention on next spring's baseball season.

A meeting of those interested in contributing to the Little League program will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Payson Library south room.

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Little League players won't see action until spring, but volunteers are busy planning the next season.

"Anyone interested in being on the board of directors or in any other capacity is welcome to attend," Little League president Chuck Barton said.

According to Barton, the organizational meeting is mandated by Little League's national headquarters in Williamsport, Penn.

"We have to have this meeting to maintain our charter," he said. For more information, call Barton at (928) 468-1711.

Lions roar at benefit

The Payson Lions and Lioness clubs will be hosting the 7th annual Octoberfest Golf Tournament Oct. 16 at Payson Golf Course. Tee time is 8 a.m under an 18-hole scramble format.

Among the day's events will be a raffle for a pair of tickets to a Phoenix Suns game with seats in the National Bank of Arizona's suite in American West Arena. The tickets are valued at $300.

The tournament luncheon will feature German brats from Charlie's Old Fashioned Meats.

Call George Spears (928-474-1541) or Dean Bulkley (928-474-2177) for more information. Flyers also are available at the Payson Golf Course.

Prep football in Seattle

My wife Kay and I just returned from a vacation in Seattle, Wash. where we both learned the talk of the city was about a pair of high school football events.

Tragically, a 15-year-old sophomore running back died at Harborview Medical Center after suffering a head injury while being tackled in a Sept. 3 game.

On a lighter note, players from Bellevue High School were celebrating a 39-20 victory over De La Salle of Concord, Calif., then the country's No. 1 ranked team. The upset made headlines around Seattle and snapped De La Salle's 151-game winning streak. In USA Today's Super 25 high school football rankings, De La Salle has been top-ranked for several years.

In national prep football circles, the De La Salle football program is widely considered the finest in the country.

Around Seattle, the Bellevue players were hailed for making prep football history with the victory over the Spartans.

A week after the death of Tyee High School player DeShawn Smith, the team returned to practices but forfeited the Sept. 17 game against Kennedy High School. Smith collapsed after a helmet-to-helmet hit during Tyee's season-opening game at Foster High School.

During lunch periods at the school, students were given chalk and allowed to write remembrances on the courtyard about Smith. Players from Foster painted memorials to Smith on the legendary "Spirit Rock" that has long been an icon at the school.

In Seattle, the Mariners were playing the Boston Red Sox, the University of Washington and Washington State were about to open their seasons and the Seahawks were poised to kick off the NFL campaign.

It was, however, high school football that drew most everyone's attention.

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