A 40-22 thumping of Holbrook Thursday evening in Payson stamped the Longhorn freshmen one of the premier first-year teams in the 3A East region.
With 5-1 credentials, the only squad that's been able to slow the Payson plebe express has been Class 2A St. Johns. The single defeat, 33-14, took place Sept. 15 in St. Johns.
That Redskin team, PHS coaches agreed after the game, was one of the most talented freshman squads to ever come out of small-town northern Arizona.
In Payson's win over Holbrook, Kyle Hubbard got the Horns off and running on a 25-yard return of a punt that was blocked by Alex Vlahopoulos. Ashton Shewey toed the extra point.
On a fourth-and-one situation, Holbrook countered Payson's score with a TD of their own. The 39-yard jaunt was followed by a successful two-point conversion run that propelled the Runners out to an 8-7 lead.
Refusing to fall by the wayside of Holbrook's sudden scoring strike, the Horns jumped back out to a 15-8 lead on a 41-yard run by Billy Bob Hoyt and a two-point conversion pass from Cory McRae to Larry Wilbanks.
In the second quarter, Garrett Stanley's 8-yard TD romp and a 60-yard interception return by Shewey lifted Payson to a 28-8 cushion.
Reserve fullback Doug Pearson plowed two yards to paydirt with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter to give the young Horns their biggest lead of the day, 34-8.
After a Holbrook TD, Trent Barnes capped the Payson offensive effort tallying on a 16-yard run.
Next up for the Horns is an East region contest that frosh co-coach David Daniels labels one of the most crucial of the season.
"Anytime you play Snowflake, it's a big game," Daniels said.
Kickoff against the Lobos is 4:30 p.m. in PHS stadium.