Longhorn Gridders Pump Up For 2005 Season


The Longhorn football camp, which kicked off Monday, July 18 on Payson High School football field, will provide aspiring players the opportunity for a jump-start on the 2005 season.

During the five days of the camp, third-year coach Jerry Rhoades and his staff will condition players, teach them the nuances of the game, evaluate athletes and plug them into offensive and defensive positions where they can best help the team.

During the camp, which wraps up just after breakfast July 22, the players will reside in Wilson dome and have their meals in the Payson High School cafeteria.

Four-a-day, non-contact practice sessions will begin each morning with hill running to build speed, endurance and strength.

After breakfast, the coaches will lead the players through offensive sessions, followed in the afternoon by defensive sessions.

Offensively, the Longhorns will run the "I" formation option scheme they used last season after using the "Wing-T" offense during Rhoades' first year at the helm of the program.

Defensively, the Horns will continue with a 4-3 scheme.

With newly appointed Longhorn basketball coach Scott Dean on the football staff, Rhoades has another veteran he can call upon.

In addition to having an extensive basketball background, Dean has been a successful football coach.

During the evening hours of camp, the players will participate in seven-on-seven passing league games. Those games are conducted much like touch or flag football.

Scottsdale Horizon team, coached by Steve Casey, will also participate in the camp. This is the second year the Scottsdale squad has participated in the camp.

Rhoades said he hopes the camp experience will build camaraderie among the players and set the foundation for a successful season.

Next year, the Longhorns will play in the 3A East Region after spending two years in the 4A Grand Canyon region.

In an Arizona Interscholastic Association realignment last spring, Payson's petition to move to the 3A East was approved.

Through the years, the East has built a reputation of being the most competitive football region in small-school Arizona.

"We know we are going to be facing a lot of top teams," Rhoades said. "That's one of the reasons this football camp is important (to the players)."

Regular-season practices will kick off Aug. 1. Players who did not take advantage of the physical exams when they were offered in the spring, must have a current physical from their family doctor on file, along with other paperwork, in athletic director Dave Bradley's office.

Players who do not have all the required paperwork completed will not be allowed to practice.

For more information, call Rhoades at (928) 474-2233.

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