Hello, Payson

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Hello Payson.

I’m excited to be here.

Well, I’m kind of here and there at the moment as I begin the next chapter of my career at the Roundup while trying to sell my home in Show Low.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the staff of such an excellent newspaper. I wouldn’t have left my position as sports writer at the White Mountain Independent unless I was convinced that it was the right move.

I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible. So feel free to walk up and introduce yourself the next time you run into me at a game or anywhere around town. Of course, you are always welcome to drop by the paper and give me a piece of your mind or let me know about anything you believe I should write about, cover, etc.

I will do my best to provide the kind of thorough coverage of Payson High School athletics, as well as every other recreational activity in the community, that you’ve come to expect from the Roundup. I certainly have some big shoes to fill. From what I can tell, Max Foster has been the face of the Payson sports scene for more than a quarter-century.

I want to continue to make the Roundup your source for sports and outdoor activities in the Rim Country. Any suggestions you have to help me achieve that goal would be greatly appreciated.

To give you a little bit of background on myself, I was born in Alabama and grew up in Flushing, Mich. I’ve worked at a couple of daily papers and several weekly papers in Arizona, Michigan and Alabama as a sports writer and/or editor since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University (Go, Spartans!) 28 years ago. I spent the last six years at the Independent, where I covered Alchesay, Blue Ridge, Mogollon, Round Valley, Show Low, Snowflake and St. Johns high school student-athletes and teams.

I love covering high school and community sports. In fact, I am passionate about it. Prep sports represent athletics in their purest form. There are no prima donnas playing for multi-million dollar contracts. High school student-athletes simply play because they love the sport and want to be part of a team.

I have been fortunate enough to meet and write about some interesting and inspirational people in my career and I look forward to telling the stories of some of Payson’s finest residents for many years to come.

So, if you have a tip on an interesting person or subject you’d like to see in the Roundup, please e-mail me at kmorris@payson.com, call me at (928) 474-5251, ext. 114, send it to me at Keith Morris, Payson Roundup, P.O. Box 2520, Payson, AZ 85547 or drop by and see me at the paper at 708 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ 85541.

Horns fall into action this week

Autumn doesn’t officially arrive until Sept. 22.

But the high school fall sports season is upon us. It kicked off with the football opener last Friday and is now in full swing with Payson High’s five other varsity teams getting under way this week.

The girls soccer team opens at home tonight against Show Low. The game follows the 5 p.m. junior varsity contest, with an expected start time of 7 p.m.

The 12-game regular-season schedule concludes with a home game against Chino Valley on Oct. 24. There are also a couple of tournaments, including the two-day event at Show Low this Friday and Saturday. The Lady Longhorns are also scheduled to participate in the Old Pueblo Tournament on Oct. 4-5.

The volleyball team opens today at Scottsdale Saguaro before playing host to Flagstaff Coconino on Thursday, with the freshman team playing at 4:30 p.m., the JV at 5:30 p.m. and the varsity at 6:30 p.m. One of the highlights of the season is on tap this weekend as the Lady Longhorns entertain several teams in the Payson Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

The boys soccer team, meanwhile, kicks off its schedule with a home game against Grand Canyon on Saturday, with the varsity contest at 1 p.m. and the JV game following at approximately 3 p.m. The Horns also play host to Show Low on Sept. 10, with the varsity game at 7 p.m. following the 5 p.m. JV tilt.

The boys and girls cross country teams open the season by hosting the Payson Invitational beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Payson Golf Course. The Longhorns then compete in the Chandler Invitational at Tumbleweed Park at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The varsity football team is at Page on Friday night and at Parker on Sept. 13 before returning home against Glendale on Sept. 20.

Demolition Derby

The 2013 Demolition Derby is at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7. Call (928) 474-5242, ext. 306 for details.

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