Head Coach: Derek Campbell (NEW IN 2016)
2015 record: 1-8 overall, 0-6 Region 8 (7th)
Players to watch: Buck Frazier, Sr. WR/DB; Tyler Batty, Sr. TE/DL; Chayce Loveless, Sr. LB; Weston Banks, Sr. LB/OL; Matthew Van Moos, Jr. QB; Jed Loveless, Sr. WR/DB
Outlook: For a team that was 1-8 last year and returns two starters on offense and three on defense, there doesn’t appear to be much hope for a winning season -- but with change comes opportunity.
First-year head coach Derek Campbell joined the Lions last season as an assistant coach, he knew what kind of challenge he would be facing when he accepted the head coaching position.
“I took the job because I thought it was a good fit for me and my family, he said. "I’m not here to save Payson football or do something no one else has been able to do, but I can tell you that I’m 100 percent committed to helping Payson win. We want to try to improve from last year and to get better with our fundamentals and to become a better football team.”
The Lions hope on improvement starts with Buck Frazier, who started last year at quarterback and at defensive back. Campbell is toying with the idea of starting junior Matthew Van Moos at quarterback and moving Frazier to wide receiver in an effort to capitalize on his playmaking ability.
Tyler Batty gives Payson a big target at tight end and will be the centerpiece of the defensive line. Frazier will also start in the secondary and the Lions will also be relying on Weston Banks at linebacker.
Campbell is counting on a pair of seniors who didn’t play football last year. Chayce Loveless (RB/WR/DB) and Jed Loveless (WR/DB) are both wrestlers, who chose to skip last season. They should help give the team the toughness it will need to be competitive.
Tradition: "One of the things we did that I liked was the 12:01 Monday morning practice to start the season, but as people built around the school that went away. I think it's cool now when they have the bagpipers lead the team on the field. That's pretty unique to Payson." - Former Payson head coach Bart Peery.