The summer is winding down meaning it’s about time to begin focusing on the upcoming football season — whether it is high school, collegiate or professional.
In prep preseason action, Payson is playing host this week, July 16 to July 20, to a high school training camp that has drawn teams from Coolidge, Red Mountain, Yuma Kofa, Glendale Independence and Desert Edge.
On the collegiate level, Arizona State University returns to Camp Tontozona for its preseason camp Aug. 14 to Aug. 18.
Professionally, the Arizona Cardinals have finalized their preseason training camp schedule on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
For the high school camp at PHS, each day this week, coaches from the five schools will hold two-a-day sessions at PHS and Rumsey Park.
During the evening hours, the teams play one another in “passing league” games or 7-on-7 play that is very similar to touch football.
But that doesn’t mean action is not spirited as players try to impress their coaches and at the same time outshine opponents.
While Payson players will not participate in the team camp, they will be involved in evening 7-on-7 games.
Fans are welcomed to watch free of charge.
Arizona State University football officials haven’t yet announced the Tontozona practice schedule, but the team usually practices in the morning and late afternoon. A scrimmage will be held on the final day,
The tradition of practicing at Tontozona ended in 2007 when then coach Dennis Erickson ditched the camp in favor of practicing in the Dickey Dome on the ASU campus.
Newly appointed ASU coach Todd Graham decided early this summer to breathe life into perhaps ASU’s finest tradition and return to the scenic mountain hideaway located east of Payson near Kohl’s Ranch.
There is no admission charge for practices or the scrimmage.
The highlight of the Cards’ stay in Flagstaff is traditionally the Red and White Fan Scrimmage, which this season is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m., Saturday, July 28.
Most all practice sessions are held on the Lumberjack field located just east of Walkup Skydome. Parking can be a problem on campus, so the best advice is to arrive early.
• Wednesday, July 25: 3:05 p.m. to 5 p.m.
• Thursday, July 26: 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
• Friday, July 27: 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
• Saturday, July 28: 11:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. (Red and White Fan Scrimmage)
• Monday, July 30: 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
• Tuesday, July 31: 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
• Wednesday, Aug. 1: 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 7:15p.m. to 9:15 p.m. (in Lumberjack Stadium).
• Thursday, Aug. 2: 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
• Friday, Aug. 3: 9 to 11 a.m.
• Monday, Aug. 13: 9 to 10:15 a.m. and 3:25 to 5 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 14: 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
• Wednesday, Aug. 15: 9 to 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.
• Monday, Aug. 20: 9 to 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 to 5 p.m.
• Tuesday, Aug. 21: 8:45 to 10:20 p.m.
From Aug. 3 to Aug. 13, the Cardinals will be in Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame game and Kansas City for a Chiefs game.
With high school, college and professional training camps easily accessible from Payson, it might be time to begin touting our town “The Gridiron Capitol of Arizona.”