For anyone who doubts the importance of a last minute push for extra points, Friday night's game was proof. The evidence was laid out Sept. 22 in the Longhorns' heartbreaking 22-21 loss to the visiting Snowflake Lobos.
Following three Payson touchdowns, failed extra point kicks contributed to the Horns gut-wrenching East region defeat.
The first conversion miss came with 8:30 remaining in the opening quarter after sophomore quarterback Ridge Halenar scored on a 4-yard run.
The second clunker occurred less than two minutes before halftime following Jason Sweet's 37-yard scoring scamper.
Even though the Horns misfired on two conversion kicks, Payson led 15-0 at the break thanks to Nate Doyle's 37-yard field goal in the first quarter.
The Horns third missed conversion occurred with 1:30 remaining in the third stanza after Halenar had scored on a 4-yard touchdown run.
Just four minutes earlier, Snowflake scored its first touchdown on a 1-yard run by Matt Reidhead. Running back Deven Peterson, who gave the Horn defense fits all evening long, tacked on a two-point conversion run.
As crucial as the trio of failed extra point kicks were to Horn hopes, Payson still entered the fourth quarter clinging to a 21-8 lead.
But that lead dissipated quickly under the relentless pressure of a well-oiled Snowflake ground and air attack.
The Lobos rallied for two fourth quarter touchdowns on a 2-yard run by Reidhead and a 3-yard plunge by Peterson with 1:21 remaining in the game.
It was Peterson's two-point conversion after Snowflake's final touchdown that spelled the demise of the Longhorns.
The loss drops Payson's overall record to 2-3 and East region credentials to 1-1.
The Horns, however, will have to wait a week to begin pursuit of improving their East record.
Next on the agenda is a Sept. 29 non-region clash at Fountain Hills.
The Falcons enter the fray 4-1 after whipping Sedona 26-6 last week.
Fountain Hills might also take to the field with more than a bit of revenge on their minds. Last year in the Longhorns homecoming clash, Nate Doyle booted a 24-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining that lifted PHS to a 17-14 upset win.
-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
View homecoming photo gallery: 2006 PHS Homecoming game and royalty