Preseason football practices kicked off this week at Payson High School. The gridiron crew was permitted to begin practices July 31, a week earlier than other fall sports, because the team is the first to play a regular season game.
Arizona Interscholastic Association rules dictate when prep sports practices can get under way.
The Longhorns play a preseason scrimmage Aug. 18 against Florence in PHS stadium and the season opener against Parker will be Aug. 25, also in Payson.
The cross country regular season doesn't begin until Sept. 6, boys soccer tips off Aug. 30 and girls soccer and volleyball debut Aug. 29.
Although volleyball practices can't officially begin until Aug. 7, the Lady Horns will conduct a voluntary camp July 31 to Aug. 4. Sessions, open to all students, will be held after school in Wilson Dome.
Tryouts will be held Aug. 7 to 9 and practices tip off Aug. 10.
Neither the boys or girls soccer or the cross country team will hold preseason camps as did football and volleyball.
Instead, practices begin at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 7.
Cross country coach Chuck Hardt is asking his charges to enter the Payson Parks and Recreation-sponsored Monsoon 5K Aug. 12 at Green Valley Park. Start time is 8 a.m.
In soccer, the Lady Horns will practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the first week on the Rumsey Park main field and the boys, on those days, at one of the new baseball fields at Rumsey west.
On Tuesday and Thursday of the first week, the two teams swap practice sites.
The following week and throughout the season, the two teams alternate sites on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Tuesday, Thursday basis.
PHS athletic director Dave Bradley reminds students and their parents that before any athlete in any sport is allowed to practice, he or she must have all paperwork, including a physical exam, completed and on file in his office.
Once that is accomplished, the athlete will be issued a "Blue Card" to give to his or her coach that will signal the athlete is cleared to practice.
There is a $60 participation fee this season.
Bradley is hoping enough athletes turn out in all sports to be able to field freshmen and junior varsity teams.
"If the kids come out, we've got the assistants to coach them," he said.
For more information on any fall sport, call (928) 474-2233.
-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.