Youth Football Tackle

The Longhorns tackle a Lobo during Payson’s 28-0 juniors win over Snowflake in the opening day of youth football season at Payson on Saturday. See more photos on the Roundup’s Sports Facebook page.

Payson Youth Football kicked off the 2021 season in strong fashion at Payson High School.

The minors beat visiting Snowflake 22-7 on Saturday before the juniors beat the Lobos 28-0. Payson’s other team, the mighty mites, didn’t play because Snowflake doesn’t have a team in that kindergarten through second grade division.

The minors are fifth and sixth graders and the juniors third and fourth graders.

Payson’s nine-game schedule features four home games and five away games.

The remaining home games include: Snowflake again on Aug. 21, St. Johns on Aug. 28 and Round Valley on Oct. 2.

The away games include: at Holbrook on Aug. 14, at Copper City (Globe-Miami) on Sept. 11, at Winslow on Sept. 18, at Show Low on Sept. 25 and at the Round Valley Dome against Blue Ridge on Oct. 9 during Round Valley Days.

Eric Santana is the head coach of the mighty mites, with longtime assistant Bo Althoff and Lance Chabot, Brandon Alexander and Don Davis also assisting that team.

The mighty mites have been the most successful team with more winning seasons than the two older teams according to Payson Youth Football President Rebecca Waterman, who took on the role in 2019 after Pam Way retired.

The mighty mites feature 25 players this year, including two girls.

Dusty Brockett is the head coach of the juniors, which feature 25 players. His three assistants are Shaun Hounshell, Tyler Goodman and Zach Brooks.

Donavan Waterman coaches the minors, with James Waterman, Joe Morgan, Courtney White and Brian Bowman serving as assistants. The minors have 29 players, including one girl.

Bobbie Joe Haught is the league secretary.

Payson plays in the nine-team Northeastern Arizona Youth Football League, which also includes Blue Ridge, Copper Cities (Globe-Miami), Holbrook, Round Valley, Show Low, Snowflake, St. Johns, and Winslow.

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