Payson High School preseason football practices tipped off yesterday, Aug. 5, and will continue through the week.
The first week’s sessions, which begin at 3:45 p.m. and wrap up about 6:30 p.m., will be on the Rumsey Park Kiwanis field.
After five days of non-contact physical conditioning and training in shorts and T-shirts only, junior varsity and varsity candidates will receive helmets.
After another five days, the players are eligible to receive full pads and will be allowed to engage in full contact.
Coach Jake Swartwood, however, plans to slowly introduce contact drills until reaching full scrimmages in a few weeks.
Also after the first week of conditioning and learning, Swartwood’s plans are for the freshmen to break away from the larger group and hold their own practices.
Swartwood is quick to remind parents that players cannot participate in practices until they have had their physical exam and all paperwork filed in athletic director Don Heizer’s office.
Practices in all other fall sports and PHS begin Aug. 12.
Soccer on tap
Town Recreation Coordinator Mary Wolf has been busy drumming up support for the local youth soccer program.
She explains the recreation offering: “Our fall soccer program starts at age 4 and ends with sixth-graders.
“This program gives those kids who love soccer a second opportunity to play during the fall. We will play on some Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. If the kids enjoyed spring soccer, they will enjoy the fall season even more.
“The games that are played on Friday evening will not interfere with Friday night home football games.”
The registration fee is $25 and includes a game shirt.
Also, volunteer coaches are needed.
Call Wolf at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information.
Punt, Pass, Kick event
The Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department will host the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Rumsey Park north multipurpose field. The event is free.
The competition allows boys and girls, ages 6 to 15 years, to showcase their football skills in punting, passing and placekicking. Scores are based on distance and accuracy. Entrants may register onsite the day of the competition or online at www.paysonparks.com.
Finalists in both boys and girls divisions will advance to regional competitions, and regional winners may advance to the state championship to be held during an Arizona Cardinals’ football game.
The NFL Pepsi gridiron program is a national skills competition for boys and girls between the ages of 8-15, who compete separately against their peers in four separate age divisions.
Call Mary Wolf at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information, or visit the parks office in Green Valley Park.