Longhorn football kicks off preseason practices Aug. 1 -- about one week earlier than the other fall sports of volleyball, cross country and soccer.
Arizona Interscholastic Association rules allow the football team to start practicing earlier because the Horns' regular season begins one week before other sports teams.
Payson opens the season Aug. 26 in Parker and will play a 10-game schedule rather than 11 as the Horns did last year.
Although the Longhorn schedule now shows a 7 p.m., Aug. 19 controlled scrimmage against the Mingus Marauders in Payson, that could change.
Coach Jerry Rhoades, who coached at Mingus before coming to Payson three years ago, said he would like to change the scrimmage kick off to 4 p.m., Aug. 17 on PHS field.
Rhoades said he will confer with Mingus coaches and announce next week if the scrimmage date and time is to be changed.
Before football players will be allowed to practice they must have a physical examination and all paperwork on file in the office of athletic director Dave Bradley.
When a player has fulfilled all requirements, they will be issued a "blue card," which is an OK to practice to give to Rhoades or a member of his staff.
Bradley stresses that no student will be allowed to practice until they have the blue card.
During the first four days of practice, the Horns will don shorts and T-shirts only.
After the AIA-mandated conditioning practices are complete, contact sessions in shells and full pads will begin.
Practices are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. each weekday.
Practices for all fall sports other than football begin Aug. 8.
Call Bradley at (928) 474-2233 for more information.