A 62-0 lambasting of Tuba City Friday evening in Longhorn stadium might have been just the remedy the PHS football team needed before it takes on longtime arch rival Snowflake in a homecoming showdown.
Kick off for that game, which is also the East region opener for both schools, is 7 p.m. Friday on Longhorn field.
In addition to being a huge confidence boost, the triumph over Tuba City lifted the Horns credentials to the break even mark (2-2). It also afforded the team members plenty of valuable experience in new coach Steve Saban's offensive and defensive systems.
"We got a lot of player's (playing) time and they all stepped up," Saban said.
For the fans who were on hand Friday to witness the drubbing of the Warriors, there never was much doubt who was going to walk off the field as victors.
Junior speedster Waylon Pettet gave the Horns an instant jump-start by returning the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.
Former soccer standout Josh Heglie's extra-point kick lifted Payson to a 7-0 lead.
About 10 minutes later, senior quarterback Ky Bradley hooked up with tight end Mike Barr on a 10-yard scoring pass. A two-point conversion pass from Pettet to Barr, pushed the Horns cushion to 15-0 just as the first quarter ended.
What made Barr's catches impressive was the fact he was playing with a broken thumb.
At halftime, the Horns enjoyed a 21-0 lead.
The second half proved even more prolific for the Horns' Wing-T offense. Senior fullback Levi Armstrong supplied the third stanza fireworks, scoring on runs of 11, two and six yards.
With the Tuba City defense packed inside to stop Armstrong, Pettet broke loose on a 57-yard scoring scamper and backup quarterback Nate Perna tallied on a 10-yard run. Late in the game, Heglie capped Payson's offensive blitzkrieg on a broken play 96-yard TD dart.
Armstrong, who weighs only about 160 pounds but runs as if he's much heavier, finished as the team leader in rushing with 173 yards on 19 carries.
Following the game, Saban cited Armstrong, a team captain, for his rushing exploits and leadership on and off the field.
In addition to Pettet's dazzling kickoff return, he tacked on 81 yards rushing on six carries.
As a team, the Horns racked up 485 yards in total offense, 409 of which came on the ground.
In a prep gridiron oddity that occurs about as often as the state of Florida correctly counts ballots, the Horns were never forced to punt.
Defensively, coach Jack Morris' bandits led by noseguard Sean Pickle, linebacker Levi Amon and end Jeremy Greenburg gave up only 157 total yards. Much of that real estate came on pass plays that covered, 18, 36 and 51 yards.
Friday's homecoming showdown against Snowflake will be preceded Thursday by freshmen and junior varsity games in Snowflake. The freshman encounter is at 4:30 p.m. on Lobo field. The jayvee game will follow at 6:30 p.m.