The Payson Football Camp turned into an arduous test of skill, tenacity, conditioning and doggedness for the 60-plus aspiring Longhorn players who turned out for the preseason training which began July 18 and wrapped up about noon today, Friday.
Joining the Horn contingent at the camp were student-athletes from Mesa Red Mountain, Casa Grande, Kingman, Miami and Tucson Canyon del Oro.
While the focus was on football, there was also plenty of good-natured tomfoolery going on in the off hours, as is the situation in most every prep football camp in the country.
This year, for the first time ever, the 500-plus campers were treated to a variety of delectable down-home meals prepared by some of the Rim Country’s finest cooks and chefs.
The meals included deep-pit slow-roasted beef cooked up by acclaimed cowboy cook Albert Hunt, fry bread tacos from Sophie Davis and smoked brisket of beef by Rod Rockman who, coach Byron Quinlan says, won several cooking contests in his home state of Iowa.
Also Pizza Factory and Gerardo’s Italian Bistro served meals as did the cross country/track, boys soccer and wrestling teams, who did so as benefits for their sports programs.
Steve Perry at Pepsi-Cola furnished some beverages and in the evening hours, the Longhorn cheerleaders ran a concession stand where campers could purchase snacks.
Three-a-day practices were held at the PHS football field as well as at Rumsey Park.
The evening practice featured 7-on-7 passing league games and “Big Man” contests for the linemen.
At the conclusion of the exhaustive, but fruitful week, Quinlan summed up the camp by simply saying, “It was a lot of fun — for coaches and the players.”