The Holbrook Roadrunners now know it was a great move for the school to opt out of the rugged East region two years ago for an easier gridiron life in the North.
Proof that the Runners can't play on the same field with the East's elite came Friday night in Holbrook where the Longhorns trounced them, 67-6.
The two teams entered the fray with identical 2-0 records, but after the pounding the Roadrunners absorbed, there is little doubt Payson is a regional and state playoff contender.
In the weak north, the Roadrunners could finish among the top four and earn a playoff spot.
With the win, the Longhorns improve their record to 3-0 and will most likely hold onto their state rankings being second in some polls and third in others.
This practice week, PHS coaches will ask players to focus on the Sept. 27 game against lightly regarded Tuba City. That might be a tough obstacle for the Longhorns who are eagerly looking forward to upcoming showdowns against Snowflake and Blue Ridge.
Following Tuba City, the Horns will be on the road Oct. 4 when the team will take on the unbeaten East rival Snowflake Lobos.
On Oct. 25, the Horns host Blue Ridge in a homecoming showdown.
In most polls, Snowflake is ranked second and Payson third behind top-ranked and defending state champion Blue Ridge.
Against Tuba City, only pride will be on the line.
In Snowflake and against Blue Ridge, state ranking, a state playoff berth and the chance at earning the East region championship will be at stake.
Kickoff Friday evening in PHS stadium against Tuba City is 7 p.m.