A spirited razzle dazzle tournament wrapped up the Longhorn football camp held July 21 through July 25 on the Payson High School campus and Rumsey Park.
In the tournament, the Payson team, led by the twin-tower combo of 6-foot-6-inch Matt Wilson and 6-foot-5-inch Bryan Burke, emerged victorious in a series of games over Glendale Cortez, Kingman, Ganado and Tucson Sahuaro.
For those unfamiliar with razzle dazzle football, it is a variation of flag in which the players can throw a forward or backward pass at any time and also run with the ball. Also, there are no huddles creating a wide-open game with more scoring action and running than in a typical flag football game.
The Payson team was comprised mostly of offensive and defensive linemen.
While the razzle dazzle game was being played at the North Rumsey park field, the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers locked horns in 7-on-7 passing league games on the south field.
In it, Payson quarterback Ridge Halenar hooked up several times with his favorite receiver of last season, Tyler Savage.
The two feisty tournaments marked the culmination of five days of two-a-day practices in which the campers conditioned and learned the nuances of the offenses, defenses and special teams they will use next season.
Longhorn coach Josh Anderson called the camp an From page 1B
"We had the best turnout ever with 69 kids at practice," he said. "We got a lot done in a short period of time and the amount of progress that the freshmen made from Monday to Friday has been unbelievable.
"The older kids did a great job of helping everybody new to the team along with showing them how things are done in our system."
There were, however, some obstacles to overcome during the grueling days of practice and living in old PHS gymnasium.
"The boys did a great job of fighting through the heat and humidity, all the long walks to the practice fields and the soreness," Anderson said. "It just seemed like they had fun together."
Next up for the PHS players is a mandatory meeting, accompanied with at least one parent, at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1 in the old gymnasium.
Anderson stresses that a parent must be in attendance before the player will be allowed to participate in practices when they begin Aug. 4.
Also, all players must have their physical exams and other paperwork completed and turned in to athletic director Jason Lobik's office before they are eligible to practice.
The season kicks off Aug. 22 with a controlled scrimmage against Camp Verde in Longhorn stadium.
The regular season begins Aug. 29 at Fountain Hills.
The Horns do not have an East region game until Oct. 3 at Show Low.