Cardinals' Recent Drafts Hopeful

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I've never been much of a fan of the University of Southern California.

In fact, like all my fellow Arizona State alumni, I'll argue that USC stands for University of Spoiled Children.

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The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the home of the Southern California Trojans.

For role models, USC has O.J. Simpson and ASU has Pat Tillman.

I think my dislike of USC has its roots in the 1970s when the Rod Dedaux-coached Trojan baseball team beat the Sun Devils three times in the championship game of the College World Series.

In 1972, USC won 1-0. In 1973, USC again claimed the title 4-3. Finally in 1978, the Trojans dumped the Devils 10-3.

Two years ago, I traveled to Los Angeles only to see the Trojans whip ASU 45-7 in a gridiron mismatch.

Last season on Frank Kush Field, I could only watch in disbelief as USC rallied from behind to nip the Devils 38-28.

Those losses hurt big time.

I think I need a group hug.

As much as I dislike USC, I'm excited a couple of former Trojans will next year wear the uniforms of the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cards drafted former SC quarterback Matt Leinart and Mesa product Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui, an offensive lineman, last week.

Since the Cards have been in Arizona, fans have grown weary of their promises to someday field a competitive team.

But with Leinart and Lutui on the roster, there is hope for the future.

Couple the two with the Cards' veteran quarterback, superstar running back and some of the best receivers in the NFL, and Arizona appears to have a playoff contending team.

That's good, even if it means bringing a couple of those dreaded Trojans to Arizona.

Big hit

Charlene Hunt has dubbed the Benefit Deep Pit Barbecue held April 27 an overwhelming success. Although the final profit tabulations have not been completed, she estimates the meal earned about $3,000 for the Lady Longhorn softball team.

The event was so popular, Hunt said, that organizers completely ran out of food, including the 300 pounds of beef that was deep pit cooked by Albert Hunt, Charlene's husband.

Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty donated the beef.

"We owe them a big thank-you," Hunt said.

The benefit barbecue and softball games that followed have been a staple on the Rim Country sports scene for the past four years.

Benefit set for May 13

The Payson Youth Football Benefit Tournament tees off with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. May 13 at Payson Golf Course.

Earlier this year, Dale Gonzalez volunteered to serve as director of the annual golf tournament that helps support Payson teams entered in the Central Arizona Football Association. Gonzalez is also secretary of the local youth league.

Since assuming his youth football responsibilities, Gonzalez and co-tournament director Mike Conway have been busy planning the annual tournament.

"I'm told (the golf tournament) is one of the league's biggest fund-raisers," Gonzalez said.

The money is used mostly to purchase top-grade helmets and pads for the players that help keep athletes safe and injury-free during practices and games. The tournament entry fee is $80 per person or $400 per team. The registration fee includes green fees, a cart, food and raffle prizes at a post tournament awards ceremony. For more information, call Conway at (928) 970-0448.

Fishing for PCC

The 2006 Willow Springs Trout Tournament to benefit Payson Christian School will be held from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday at the lake, located 32 miles east of Payson and north of Highway 260.

The entry fee is $25. Tournament day registration at the lake store opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 7 a.m. Those who pre-register must also check in before beginning to fish. All entrants must be in possession of an Arizona fishing license and a trout stamp. Arizona Game and Fish Laws limit an angler to six trout per day. The minimum size trout that should be kept is 8 inches. Registration forms are available at the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.

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