Seven high school athletes received a ring -- the Ring of Honor -- from coach Jerry Rhoades, the football coaching staff and Payson High School, for their outstanding commitment to athletics and academics.
"They're great kids," Rhoades said. "The whole point is to encourage off-season participation."
Miles Huff, Derek Hoosava, Donald Engler, Nick Ford, Shane Brown, Kevin Allen and Vance Garner earned rings, as wide as cigar bands, for their involvement in other sports, striving for academic excellence, along with community and school volunteer work.
Rhoades tacks on points for off-season weight training and grade point averages -- 20 for a 3.5 GPA. Athletes who accumulate 155 points receive the Ring of Honor.
"We're here because we want these kids to become better human beings, not just better football players," said Rhoades. "I'd rather have a kid who's a hard worker, than a great athlete any day. If the kid's a hard worker, it'll transcend into all parts of their life after they graduate."
Last year six students received the ring, this year, seven -- Hoosava and Engler picked up their second ring.
"The parents think their kids deserve it because they've worked hard," said Rhoades. "(The ring) shows that their son is not just a jock or not just a school nobody."
Athletes keep track of their own points over nine months, beginning in November and ending in August.
Those who undertake the challenge are required to participate in a winter or spring sport and spring football, commit to an off-season and three-day-a-week summer weight circuit; and volunteer for school and community events.
Rhoades said the Ring of Honor hasn't caught fire among other sports and academic programs, but he looks forward to a future spark.
"I'd love to buy every athlete on campus a state championship ring," Rhoades said. "If you get the kind of work that this championship team is asking, you'll have quality sports programs. But if we can't get that state championship team, and just the Ring of Honor, I'm thrilled."