The Longhorns dominated the game, but it took a blocked extra point in the final seconds to preserve Payson's 20-19 win over the Prescott Badgers.
With the win, Payson improves to 4-0 on the season and will take on undefeated Pinnacle (4-0) Oct. 3 in PHS stadium. The game will mark the culmination of a week filled with PHS homecoming activities. Kick off is 7 p.m.
In defeating Prescott, the Longhorns were playing the role of spoiler in the Badgers homecoming festivities.
The revelry in Prescott took a Badger turn with 31 seconds remaining in the game when Prescott signal caller Chris Parker hooked up with Kyle Thompson on a scoring pass that pulled the Badgers to within 20-19. The TD pass capped a 16-play, 80-yard desperation drive. After the score, however, the Prescott players were flagged for excessive celebration. The penalty was enforced on the extra-point attempt.
With the outcome of the game hinging on the conversion, a handful of Longhorn defenders rose to the occasion to block Parker's kick that was low and off center.
Although Payson survived by a single point, the Longhorns dominated the game, racking up 402 yards in total offense. Prescott had 219 yards, 183 of which came through the airways.
Payson's struggles included a season-high five turnovers that included three lost fumbles and two pass interceptions.
The Horns also were ticketed for nine penalties and 86 yards. If the Horns take that kind of lackluster performance into Friday's game vs. Pinnacle, the team could be looking at its first loss of the season.
The good news in the narrow win was the return of tight end Mike Barr. The 6-foot, 7-inch senior was back in action after being sidelined by injuries incurred a month ago in a personal watercraft accident at Roosevelt Lake. Returning to the form of last year, Barr hauled in five passes for 124 yards. Many of his catches were of the circus variety, in which he skied high to haul in aerials that most prep receivers couldn't handle.
Also shining for the Longhorns was another player, Tyler Williams, who recently returned from an injury.
The hard-running junior fullback, shelved by an ankle injury in preseason, rushed for 106 yards on 21 carries. He also caught three passes for 39 yards and scored one TD.
The bad news in the Horn win was injuries to J.R. Szabo and tailback Luke Apfel.
Szabo suffered a slight separation of the shoulder, but showed up for game films Saturday morning. Apfel was slowed by a high hamstring pull but also was on campus Saturday. The status of both will be determined later this week.
Against Prescott, the Horns were without the services of quick tackle Kevin Allen who suffered a knee injury in Horns win over Desert Ridge last week.
According to line coach Jack Morris, Allen could return to action Friday against Pinnacle.