The Longhorn defense is about to be tested by one of the state's finest running backs.
The challenge occurs at 5 p.m. today, Friday, on Payson High School field against a Camp Verde team that is led by senior tailback Damien Baca (5 feet, 11 inches; 185 pounds).
Last season, Baca tore up CV opponents rushing for more than 1,800 yards and 24 touchdowns. With Baca leading the way, the Cowboys finished the season 9-3.
Longhorn defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes said he is aware of Damien's reputation, but is not making many changes in his basic 4-3 defense to slow the CV star.
"It's a (preseason) scrimmage so we want to see how the kids can adjust on the fly," he said.
"We'll make a couple of adjustments but facing (Baca) will be a good experience for us."
The Longhorn coaching staff anticipates the Luke Steege-coached Cowboys will operate out of the Wing T and be run-oriented.
The team does feature three good-sized linemen to pave the way for Baca. Matt Weber is a 6-foot, 3-inch, 270-pound senior. Ben Hauser, also a senior, is listed at 6-foot, 1-inch and 230 pounds. Junior Wally Saylors, 6-foot, tips the scales at 270 pounds.
In Camp Verde, fans are optimistically predicting this team could be the most talented Steege has had in his eight-year tenure at the school.
Because the clash is a scrimmage, no score will be kept, coaches are allowed on the field and play may be stopped at any time for coaches to give instruction. There will be no kick offs or kick returns.
Although there is no admission, the football team is requesting those attending donate a can of food, which will then be given to a local food bank.