Longhorns Break Broncos 29-6

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The Payson Longhorns overcame 18 penalties for 119 yards to whip the Parker Broncos 29-6 in the 2006 regular season opener.

In the clash played Friday evening in Payson High stadium, the Broncos were also ticketed seven times for 65 yards rendering the game one of the most penalty-marred in recent gridiron history.

"(Penalties) is an area of the game we are going to have to work on," defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes said.

Head coach Josh Anderson, in his first year at PHS after serving a coaching stint in Chino Valley, agrees.

"Penalties are all mental and if there are only two things we know we can control in a game it's our effort and our attitude, which means we shouldn't have any mental mistakes including penalties," he said. "As it was, we had 18 penalties for 119 yards. In some cases, 18 penalties is a bad number for an entire season."

The Longhorns first lit up the scoreboard with 6:59 remaining in the opening quarter when Jason Sweet rushed 10 yards for a touchdown. Nate Doyle's extra point kick was good to give the Horns a 7-0 cushion.

About four minutes later, wingback Zach Rodgers capped a five-play 44-yard drive with an 11-yard TD scamper.

The two-point conversion padded the Horns' lead to 15-0.

In the second quarter, senior free safety Miles Huff intercepted Parker quarterback Ricky Hernandez's ill-advised pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. The TD and Doyle's extra point kick upped the PHS lead to 22-0.

With 4:42 remaining in the stanza, Sweet scored his second TD of the game this time on a 71-yard run.

Doyle booted the conversion to cap the Horns scoring with 29 points.

Sweet, a wingback, finished the game with just two carries, but managed to rack up a team high 81 yards.

In the second half, first year PHS coach Josh Anderson called off the dogs playing younger reserve players. The inexperienced players, some of whom were participating in their first varsity game, committed some of the penalties on Payson.

The Broncos finally got on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter on a five-yard TD run by Nick Grenwalt. Middle linebacker Steel Armstrong blocked the conversion kick.

Offensively, junior tailback B. J. Hill sparked Anderson's Wing-T offense, rushing 11 times for 80 yards. Sophomore Nick Goodman got the call five times and racked up 33 yards.

Defensively, Armstrong, a sophomore, led the team with six solo and nine assisted tackles.

"He stuffed their trap plays," Hayes said.

Rodgers, a defensive end, also turned in a stellar effort with 10 tackles, nine of them assists.

Hayes cited the play of Huff for his pass coverage and interception.

As good as the Longhorn defense was all evening long, the bandits did allow 16 first downs.

"That is a concern," Hayes said.

As a team, Payson finished with 281 yards rushing and 13 passing.

Parker rushed for 136 yards and picked up 61 through the airway.

In assessing game results, Anderson said, "I'm very pleased with how well we came out and set the tone on both offense and defense. But there are still plenty of things we need to correct before we have Winslow come to visit us this Friday."

Caging the Dogs

Yesterday, Monday, the Horns began preparation for the state fifth-ranked Bulldogs. Last year, the Longhorns lost 34-21 to the home standing Dogs despite two kickoff returns for TDs by senior Luke Apfel.

Following the game, then-coach Jerry Rhoades cited Winslow's superior field position all evening long as among the reasons for the loss.

In Friday's clash, the Horns will want to win the field position battle and keep the Dogs as far at bay as possible. Winslow showed last year it had the speed and quickness to score quickly and often.

Winslow went on to advance to the 2005 Class 3A state championship. In it, the Dogs lost to the No. 1 ranked Coolidge Bears.

This year, the Bears are once again the state's top ranked team.

Payson High's game time against Winslow is 7 p.m. Sept. 1 in PHS stadium. A junior varsity games will be played Aug. 31 in Winslow. Game time is 5 p.m. There will be no freshmen game but Anderson said the first year players would travel to Winslow with the jayvees.

Photo gallery:

View a photo gallery of the Payson Longhorns' first home football game.

-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail mfoster@payson.com.

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