After playing to a scoreless first-half tie, the Longhorn freshman football team (5-2) rallied behind solid efforts from the offensive line to whip the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets 20-12.
Following the victory Thursday in Lakeside, veteran coach Pete Greer took time out to laud the linemen.
"The turn in momentum could be attributed to their stellar play," he said.
On the plebe line are J.R. Szabo, Kyle Hubbard, Austin Davis, Tyler Danielson, Kevin Moran, Evan Martin, Alex Vlahopoulos and Larry Wilbanks.
In addition to praising Szabo for his offensive accomplishments, the coach also cited his pass interception and 60-yard return as a prime reason Payson was able to hold BR scoreless in the opening two quarters.
"That interception, on the goal line, squelched the only drive Blue Ridge had in the half," Greer said.
Although Payson was able to salvage the victory, it was the Yellow Jackets that broke the scoreless dead knot.
Early in the third quarter, a BR punt returner fielded Billy Bob Hoyt's boot and returned it 50 yards for a TD that lifted the Jackets to a 6-0 lead.
Refusing to cry over spilt Gatorade, the fledgling Horns responded minutes later scoring on tight end Kyle Hubbard's 65-yard pass reception.
On the trick play, Hoyt took a pitch from quarterback Chad McRae and uncorked a halfback option pass to Hubbard, who set sail for the end zone.
He would not have scored, Greer said, had it not been for "a smashing block by Mark McRae that sprung him free."
The successful two-point conversion run pushed Payson out to an 8-6 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Blue Ridge answered the Horn's score with a 75-yard TD return.
Trailing 12-8, Payson rallied behind a touchdown pass from Chad McRae to Mark McRae. The score enabled Payson to regain the lead, 14-12.
Late in the fourth quarter, Chad McRae's quarterback sneak from less than a yard out tacked on an insurance touchdown.
After opening the season with five straight wins, the Longhorn jayvees dropped their second consecutive game falling 20-0 to Blue Ridge.
Coach Jack Morris summed up the disappointing loss by saying, "we just didn't show up."
Both the freshmen and jayvees wrap up what has been successful campaigns Thursday in Show Low.
Frosh kick-off time against the Cougars is 4:30 p.m. The contest will be immediately followed by the jayvee clash.