Preseason football scrimmages were designed to be tune-ups only.
And that's exactly what Friday's clash in Tuba City did for first-year Payson High School Coach Mike Wheelis and his charges.
In the scrimmage, no score or statistics were kept,. Coaches were allowed on the field and play could be stopped as needed.
"I didn't keep track of how many touchdowns were scored ... we weren't there for that reason," Wheelis said.
In the control scrimmage format, each team ran 10 plays on offense followed by 10 plays on defense. Following the team's return to Payson, Wheelis said the 2000 edition of the Horns made their share of learning mistakes, but that was to be expected.
"There were missed blocking assignments and other mistakes, but we expected them because this is a very young team," Wheelis said.
Offensively, senior Ky Bradley and sophomore Nate Perna alternated at the signal caller position. The favorite targets of the two turned out to be wide receivers Dusty Brockett, Scotty Garduno and tight end Jake Swartwood.
When running the ball, Levi Armstrong, Steve Williamson, and OJ Siebert drew most of the ball carrying chores. All performed well, Wheelis said, despite running behind a young inexperienced offensive line. The line included Jason Amon, Jason Estrella, Jeremy Greenberg and Rocky Beery.
Defensively the Horns were led by inside linebacker Cory McRae and defensive end Sterling White. When the TC Warriors went to the airways, Horn safeties Dusty Brockett and Steve Williamson were there to defend. Both had interceptions.
The Longhorns open the season in earnest at 7 p.m. Friday evening in PHS stadium against the Safford Bulldogs. After breaking down mutually exchanged game film early this week, Wheelis said he expects only to fine-tune the Horn offense and defense for Friday evening's clash.
The JV team coached by Jack Morris and Jason Sweeney kicks off the 2000 campaign at 6 p.m. Thursday in PHS stadium against the Safford Bulldogs.