The Payson Longhorns’ preseason scrimmage set for 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 20 on the PHS field against Camp Verde will be more than a tune-up for the upcoming season.
It’ll also be a chance for the PHS cheerleaders to earn money for new uniforms, an opportunity to collect much-needed food supplies for the St. Vincent de Paul Rim Country Food Bank and a rare chance for two opposing teams to come together in a show of good sportsmanship.
At the center of much of the activities are members of the Friends and Neighbors (FAN) Club. The organization is asking fans and spectators to bring a can of non-perishable food as admission to the scrimmage.
The food will then be delivered to the local food bank.
Also at the scrimmage, Longhorn cheerleaders will operate the concession stand and all profits will be used to help purchase new uniforms for this school year.
At the conclusion of the scrimmage, players from both teams will gather in Wilson Dome to enjoy a barbecue steak dinner prepared by members of the FAN Club.
“The football team is paying for the dinner and we’re helping put it on,” said FAN Club president Donovan Thornhill.
First-year head coach Byron Quinlan will also use the scrimmage to evaluate his players and plug them into positions where they can best help the team when it begins the 2010 season in earnest on Aug. 27 in PHS Stadium against St. Johns.
The scrimmage format is different than that of a regular season game in that no official score is to be kept. Also in the scrimmage, coaches are allowed on the field and play may be stopped to give instruction. There are no kick offs or kick returns.
Following the scrimmage, Quinlan and his staff will have just four remaining practices to prepare the team for St. Johns, a perennial state title contender in the 2A conference. Last season, Payson lost 19-7 to the Redskins and went on to finish 3-7.