The smell of pigskin is in the air.
As evidence, the skins will be primed to fly when spring football practices begin under newly appointed Longhorn coach Josh Anderson. The practice season tips off with a parent and athlete meet at 4:30 p.m. May 19 in the PHS cafeteria.
From 6 to 9 p.m. that same day, spring football practice tips off on Longhorn field. The following day, May 20, practices will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m.
The schedule repeats itself May 26 and 27 minus the parent meeting.
Anderson said he will hold spring practices on Friday and Saturday because he must remain during the week at Chino Valley High School to fulfill his teaching and coaching obligations there.
Anderson and athletic director Dave Bradley are urging prospective football players to take advantage of sports physical exams that will be given from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. May 19 in Wilson dome.
"Football players need to get in early to get their physicals then get to the meeting," Bradley said.
The physicals are for any athlete participating in a high school sport next school year. The cost is $10 and all proceeds will be used to purchase athletic medical supplies next year.
The physicals will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.
Because the physical forms are new this year, student athletes should pick them up in advance from Paty Henderson in the administrative offices at Payson High School.
In addition to having the physicals and participating in spring football, Anderson said he would expect players to participate in weight training, "during the (spring practices) week either before, during or after school."
For more information, call (928) 474-2233.
Morris tournament on deck
Organizers are predicting the Third Annual Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament will be more successful that the first two.
That would be quite an accomplishment since the first two events drew an overflow crowd of Jack's friends and family.
This year's event will tee off at 7:30 a.m. June 17 at Payson Golf Course with a shotgun start and best-ball format.
The entry fee is $85 per player, which includes green fees, cart, food and prize money.
The field will be limited to the first 110 golfers who register by the June 10 deadline.
Prizes include closest-to-the-pin awards on all par-3 holes, longest drive in the fairways and a hole-in-one prize on a preselected hole.
Other prizes are being gathered by the tournament golf committee.
In addition to accepting players for the tournament, the golf committee is searching for more event sponsors. All donations are tax deductible and a tax ID number is available.
Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.
For more information, call tournament director Gary Cordell at (928) 474-4401.
All proceeds from the tournament benefit the Longhorn football team and also fund an academic scholarship to be given away each spring to a deserving PHS graduate.
The tournament is played in memory of Morris, who died Feb. 23, 2004 of complications from a stroke. Morris was 34 at the time of his death.
Morris served as an assistant coach at Payson High School and was instrumental in helping the Longhorns earn the 1998 Class 3A state championship. He graduated from PHS in 1987 and was a senior member of the 1986 football team that reached the state championship.
Some of his fellow players from that team, including Mark Velasco, Greg Alexander and Mike Loutzenheiser, have said they will participate in Morris' memory.
Also, two of Morris' coaches, Dan Reid and this author, are entered.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will host both baseball and softball training centers July 10 to 14 at Rumsey Park.
The camps are conducted each day from 8 to 11 a.m. and are open to both boys and girls 6 to 12 years old.
This summer, more than 95 week-long camps will be held in 35 Arizona towns beginning Memorial Day.
The camp fee is $150, which includes a Diamondbacks hat, T-shirt, wristbands and two tickets to a 2006 Diamondbacks home game at Bank One Ballpark.
The camp curriculum, which is endorsed by the Arizona baseball staff, is matched to the age and skill level of the campers, Smith said.
Instructors are handpicked by the organization to teach the fundamentals of hitting, fielding, throwing and base running, as well as specific position play.
Each camp day and session is highly choreographed to maximize participation and activity time. Instructors are from a group of former professional players, as well as local collegiate and high school coaches.
Since enrollment is limited to the first 50 campers, Diamondbacks officials recommend participants sign up as soon as possible.
In previous years, the camps have not only drawn from the Rim Country, but also young players from the Valley whose parents are eager to escape the heat with the hour-and-a-half commute.
Registration can be completed online at www.dbacksoutreach.com or by calling (800) 821-7152.