Preseason scrimmages are practice runs designed to help coaches and players prepare for the season in a game-like atmosphere.
That's exactly whathe Aug. 17 clash pitting the Longhorns againstamp Verde turned out to be -- an opportunity for both teams to iron out the offensive and defensive wrinkles prior to Friday's regular season openers. Payson kicks off the season at 7 p.m. in Longhorn stadium against Fountain Hills.
What the Horn coaching probably learned from the clash is that their first team "O" and "D" has the potential to be very good, but depth could be a problem.
When second team players were on the field, the Longhorns struggled on both sides of the ball.
During the fray, both the Horns and the Cowboys took turns on offense running 10 plays each from the 50-yard line against the opponent's defense.
For Payson, it was a chance to execute the power option offense for the first time against someone other than teammates.
While the first team offense clicked and probably would not have ever gone "three and out," the backup players struggled with blown assignments, missed blocks, incomplete passes and penalties.
Coaches and players have four practices this week to correct those mistakes.
Defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes kept most of his schemes under wraps by sticking to a base 4-3 look.
Like the offense, the first team was impressive, but when replacements were on the field, the Horns misfired. The second teamers showed signs of vulnerability against the jet sweeps, when the CV brain trust put the "Z" wingback in motion,
The Payson reserves also gave up a 35-yard touchdown pass to a long and lanky CV wide receiver who hauled in an aerial with the secondary in a cover defense.
Coaches from both teams were on the field to quickly correct mistakes as they occurred.
Junior varsity and freshman teams from both schools also scrimmaged one another.
The scrimmage was also an opportunity for Arizona Interscholastic Association officials to tuneup before the regular season opener.
Longtime prep official Tim Fruth, also the school's assistant principal, wore the white hat in the officiating crew that included former PHS student body president, Patrick Walker.