The latest rankings from the Arizona High School Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association have the Lady Longhorns rated the sixth best team in the state.
And, those rankings include schools of all sizes 1A through 5A.
The only Class 3A school ranked ahead of the Lady Horns is fifth-ranked Hopi.
Payson and Hopi have met one time this season Sept. 22 at the Blue Ridge Invitational in Lakeside.
By a slim 36-32 margin, Hopi edged past the Horns for the invitational championship.
You can bet the family farm that when the two teams meet again Nov. 3 at the state tournament, the clash will be the mother of all cross country showdowns.
Ranked ahead of Hopi and Payson in the coaches' poll are Tempe Mountain Pointe (fourth), Tempe Desert Vista (third), Xavier (second) and top-rated Flagstaff.
All are 5A schools except Flagstaff which is 4A.
You can bet heads were spinning in Show Low after the hometown crowd watched their beloved Cougars get soundly beaten, 61-0, Friday evening by the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets.
Having once coached football at Show Low High School, I understand all too well the rivalry that is associated with that annual clash.
Because the two schools are only about five miles apart, the players and coaches often mingle on a daily basis.
The team that wins the game owns White Mountain bragging rights for the remainder of the year.
You can bet there is plenty of needling among friends and foe alike that goes on before and after the game.
The heat of the rivalry was turned up a notch a couple of years ago when a standout running back on Show Low's defending state championship team left the school for greener pastures in Lakeside.
After the transfer, plenty of people in Show Low were crying foul and saying it was a breach of AIA regulations.
That contention, however, was never proven.
The only small-town high school rivalry that compares with the Blue Ridge vs. Show Low encounter is probably the St. Johns vs. Round Valley showdown.
It's said that if the traditional showdown is played in St. Johns, the communities of Eagar and Springerville where the RVHS campus is located is virtually empty on game night.
Conversely if the game is in Eagar, St. Johns becomes a ghost town.
Probably because Payson has jumped from region to region in past years, the Longhorns don't have a rivalry that equals the Show Low vs. Blue Ridge and St. Johns vs. Round Valley encounters.
But as any PHS coach or athlete will tell you, wins over the Snowflake Lobos are victories to cherish.