Sounds, Smells Of Football In The Air


The smell of pigskin is in the air.

At least it was June 4, on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.


Brandon Alexander works on his squats during an early morning practice session in the PHS weight room. Weightlifting sessions are held from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

There, high school passing league teams from around the state gathered to participate in the Lumberjack Invitational.

Among the teams entered was a Payson squad that finished officially 4-2, but actually posted a 5-1 record.

"One game that was a win went down as a loss, but (the mistake) wasn't discovered until later," said PHS second-year coach, Josh Anderson. "It was too late to change it (from a loss to a win)."

During the gridiron shootout, Payson beat Buckeye, Flagstaff Coconino, Joe City and Monument Valley.

The team lost to Mingus, which was the controversial defeat, and 7-6 to Buckeye in the tournament semifinals.

"The kids played outstanding and they had a lot of fun," Anderson said. "We were outnumbered. The other teams were two platooning and we were going both ways."

Defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes cited the play of his safeties and corners Ridge Halenar, Shane Keith, Zack Brooks and Chase Sevey for their contributions.

"They played pretty well," he said.

In addition to 7-on-7 passing league play, the tournament featured a Big Man's Challenge for offensive and defensive lineman.

Led by Kevin Conner and Scott Andrus, Payson finished fourth in the 10-team field.

In the squat competition, Conner completed 25 reps with 225 pounds. Andrus bench-pressed 185 pounds, 22 times.

Also in the challenge were a long jump, recreational vehicle push, fireman's carry, tug-o-war, log carry and obstacle course.

Next up for the PHS passing league team are trips June 12, 14, 19 and 21 to Fountain Hills for more tournament action. On June 30, the team travels to Bradshaw Mountain.

The annual Longhorn overnight football camp will be held July 16 to 20. Practices officially begin July 30.

For more information about the program, call Anderson at (928) 474-2233.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.