Longhorn soccer coach Dave Greiner leaves little doubt about the importance of an Oct. 13 clash against the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.
"It is huge," he said. "It would be a big confidence builder for us to beat them."
The Yellow Jackets will enter the fray at 3 p.m. at Rumsey Park as the Mountain Region's top-ranked team with a 5-0 record.
The Horns, which are 3-2 in the region, are currently tied for third place with Snowflake and need a win over BR or a victory over Holbrook Oct. 20 to insure Payson of a top-four finish and a berth in the state tournament.
"Of course, two wins would be really nice," Greiner said.
The Horns tuned up for the upcoming battle against the Yellow Jackets with a 3-2 overtime win over Round Valley Oct. 9 at Rumsey.
Regulation play ended in a 2-2 tie forcing two 10-minute periods of overtime.
The Horns big break came when Jeremy Conner was awarded a penalty kick.
From about 12 yards out, Conner opted for an attempt toward the upper left side of the goal which proved to be a winning strategy; the ball sailed past the RV goalie.
The win was sweet for Greiner and his charges since it avenged a 4-0 loss to Round Valley in both team's season opener played Sept. 1 in Eagar.
"It's always nice to come back and beat a team that has beaten you," Greiner said.
In addition to the clutch play of Conner, the coach cited mid-fielder Tyler Perna for his contributions.
"He is distributing the ball real well and is always in position to take good shots," Greiner said.
"It's only a matter of time until those shots start going in."
In addition to the Region games against Blue Ridge and Round Valley, the Horns have an Oct. 16 engagement in Snowflake against the Lobos.
Because the game is played on a Saturday, it will not count in the Region standings.
Only Wednesday games are tabulated into the standings since all the Mountain Region teams do not have home and away games against one another.