Forget those losses to Winslow and Chandler Seton. They had no bearing on Longhorn playoff hopes.
What's important is Friday's 26-0 win over the homestanding Holbrook Roadrunners.
Because Winslow and Seton are not members of the 3A East, losses to those two schools do not count in the region standings.
Holbrook is a member of the East. So, Payson's win pushes the team's all-important region record to 1-0.
In the state playoff system, the top four East teams -- based only on their region records -- advance to the post season.
As stirring as Payson's win was for the Longhorn faithful, the clash yielded a huge dose of tough luck when starting tailback B. J. Hill went down with a broken leg.
"I feel terrible about that because B.J. is a great kid and a tremendous help on the field," coach Josh Anderson said. "He will definitely be missed and he has all of our thoughts and prayers during his healing process."
The injury comes as a surprise to everyone. Hill escaped last season without incurring a serious injury while playing as an undersized sophomore, starting quarterback on a team that had almost no passing attack to offset a defensive rush.
On the play that Hill incurred the injury, he was attempting a lead block when he was hit and bent over backward.
In the win over the Roadrunners, Holbrook's strategy to stack the box with nine defenders allowed Anderson to unleash his passing attack.
"Basically, we took what they gave us," he said. "I could have thrown the ball all night, but I was trying to establish the run as well.
"It was good to see the passing attack come to life."
Sophomore quarterback Ridge Halenar finished the game with four competitions in eight attempts for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
The first TD, a 30-yard pass to wide receiver Miles Huff with 6:42 remaining in the first quarter, lifted the Horns out to a 6-0 lead.
Nate Doyle's extra point kick was wide left.
About six minutes later, Halenar hooked up with Zak Miller on a 56-yard scoring strike. Doyle's kick gave the Horns a 13-0 lead the team took into halftime.
Payson scored again in the third quarter on an eight-yard run by Halenar and in the fourth on Doyle's 21-yard scamper.
Defensively, sophomore middle linebacker Steel Armstrong had 15 tackles, seven were solo and one was a loss.
Zak Miller had six tackles and two quarterback sacks. Chris Eavenson contributed eight tackles to the defensive cause.
Next up for the Longhorns is a crucial East homecoming clash against the Snowflake Lobos Sept. 29 in PHS stadium.
Kick off is 7 p.m.