Smell Of Pigskin Permeates Opening Of Football Practice

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The smell of pigskin permeated the Rim Country this week, as three prep football teams tuned up for the 2007 campaign.

The three teams participating in the camp -- Desert Edge, Maryvale and Payson -- generated the fan-friendly fall aroma, a hint that football is just around the corner.

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Linemen hit the body bags during an early morning workout at Longhorn Field.

The camp kicked off July 16 and wrapped up today, Friday.

During the camp, the teenagers resided in Wilson Dome, ate in the high

school cafeteria and practiced three times per day, either on Longhorn field, at Rumsey Park or at Rim Country Middle School.

Evening sessions, often under the lights, were normally devoted to 7-on-7 passing league competitions.

For the Longhorns, 51 aspiring players participated in the camp that was under the direction of second-year head coach Josh Anderson and his staff, assistants included defensive coordinator, Kenny Hayes and offensive coordinator, Bret Morse.

Throughout the summer, Anderson stressed that although participation in the camp was not mandatory, it was extremely important aspiring varsity players attend, in order to receive a jump-start on regular season preparations.

Those who choose not to participate would be at a disadvantage when preseason practices begin, Anderson said.

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Head Coach Josh Anderson gives direction to a group of linemen.

During the daily sessions, the coaches conditioned the athletes and taught the nuances of the power option offense and multiple defenses the team will use this season.

The use of the power option represented a departure from last year's "O," which was a version of the Wing-T.

The defense is not expected to change much from what was used in 2006.

The purpose of the camp is to prepare the players for the upcoming season, which kicks off Aug. 17 with a controlled scrimmage against Camp Verde.

The campaign begins in earnest Aug. 24 on the PHS Longhorn field against Fountain Hills.

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