Wiley veteran Pete Greer has hooked up with rookie David Daniels to coach the Payson High School freshman football team to a 2-0 season's start.
After whipping Safford in an Aug. 31 season opener, the Payson plebes traveled to Winslow Thursday to take on the Bulldogs who call the 3A North Division home.
After a slow start in which the Dog freshmen controlled the ball all but two minutes of the first quarter, Payson rallied in the second half for a 20-0 triumph .
But, the victory shoe could have been on the Dogs' paw had it not been for the early defensive heroics of Mike Barr.
On the Dogs opening drive that took them 52 yards to the Payson 26, Winslow faced a fourth-and-one dilemma. Seeing the crucial play unfold, Barr broke into the Winslow backfield where he hauled down the ball carrier for a two-yard loss.
With the scoring threat ended by Barr, Payson took over on downs only to experience the frustrations of having several gains nullified by penalties.
"The rest of the half was a defensive struggle," Greer said.
With four seconds remaining in the half, Payson's Brian Echols intercepted a Winslow pass attempt near midfield to send both teams into the locker room locked in a scoreless tie.
The Longhorn scoring drought ended early in the second half when Brandon Kelley scored on a fourth-and-goal, one-yard run. The conversion run was thwarted, but Payson enjoyed its first lead of the game, 6-0.
After Horn Kyle Hubbard recovered a Winslow fumble and Billy Bob Hoyt cut loose on a nifty 28-yard run, Chad McRae hooked up with cousin Mark McRae on a two-yard TD aerial that increased Payson's lead to 12-0.
In fourth-quarter action, Hoyt upped the Horn cushion to 18-0 on a 19-yard sweep play that was set up by several gains by Ashton Shewey.
The conversion pass from Chad McRae to Kelley wrapped up the game's scoring.
Following the team's return to the Rim country, Greer cited the blocking of J.R. Szabo, Austin Davis, Tyler Danielson, Kevin Moran, Evan Martin and Alex Vlahopoulos for the win.
Defensively, coaches praised linebackers Ashton Shewey and Garrett Stanely for their contributions.
The freshmen will look for win No. 3 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in St. Johns against the homestanding Redskins.