If that is the scent of pigskin permeating the air, it’s because the football season is just over the horizon.
Among the teams gearing up to compete are those in the Payson Youth Football League. But before there can be any stunning runs, standout blocks or great defensive plays, athletes must register.
To accomplish that, the Payson league has scheduled two final registration periods.
The first will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, July 25 at Chapman Auto Center. The final sign-up is 9 a.m. to noon, Aug. 1 also at Chapman.
At the final registration period a benefit car wash will also be held to raise funds for the upcoming season.
The league is open to youths entering kindergarten through eighth-grade. League official Pamela Way is urging prospective players, especially those 12 to 14 years old, to sign up as soon as possible.
“Every player will play,” she said.
What fans, parents and players will notice once the season kicks off is that the league has undergone some big changes.
First, local teams will no longer compete in the Central Arizona Youth Football Association, instead, they will play in the Northeastern Arizona Youth Football League (NAYFL). Which means, the local gridiron teams will now be playing almost the same opponents the high school football team does — Show Low, Snowflake, Blue Ridge and others.
Second, players will not be assigned to leagues based on their ages and weight. Rather, they will participate on school grade-level teams.
Way says the switch from age/weight teams to grade-level squads “will open (the league) up to a lot more players and allow them to play (against) their own peers.”
She also says that response to the changes has been good, “Our teams are filling up rather quickly.”
The participation fee is $100, but scholarships are available for children who need financial assistance.
Practices begin Aug. 3 and the first games are scheduled for Sept. 5.
The league is also accepting applications for coaches.
To apply or for more information about the league, call (928) 978-6723.
Got the runs?
Newly appointed Payson High School track and cross country coach coach Jonathan Ball is hosting open running sessions at 6:30 p.m. each weekday. Interested runners need only to show up at that time outside old PHS gymnasium to participate.
The runs are open to everyone in the community. Call Ball at (928) 474-2233 for more information.