Sophomore Ben Sandoval's match-opening win by a fall set the tone for the evening during the Longhorn wrestling team's season opening 51-21 win over Fountain Hills.
Sandoval, son of PHS principal Roy Sandoval who starred for the wrestling team in the 1970s, jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first period. After scoring two points on a take down early in the second stanza, he pinned FH's Jacob Vaught.
Following the 130-pound match, Fountain Hills managed to tie the score 6-6 on a win by a fall in the 135-pound division. Payson's Ryan Cox trailed 5-2 at the end of the first before being pinned with 3:38 remaining.
Only minutes later, the evening turned into a Longhorn highlight reel as Isaac Cluff (140), Oshay Chovanec (171) and Bryan Burke (275) won by falls.
Also, Mark McCarty (152) scored a victory on an injury default in the first period.
In the lighter weights, freshman Ben Lee (112) won a 4-1 decision and Jacob Cluff (119) emerged victorious 6-0, but Joe Spear (125) lost by a fall.
Junior Nick Goodman (160), a state fourth-place finisher last year, led 14-6 in the second period, but had to hang on to win 16-12. Of his points, 14 were scored on takedowns.
Also for Payson, Kevin Bryant (189) lost a 6-2 decision and Nick Alexander (215) picked up a forfeit win.
Payson does not have a true heavyweight in the lineup but coach Dave LaMotte moved Burke, normally a 215-pound wrestler, up a weight class as he did Alexander.
In junior varsity action, Jed Ward (103) and Clint Godac (16) won on falls and Matt Bullard (140) lost on a pin.
Following the Longhorns relatively easy win, Western State College of Colorado took to the Wilson Dome floor to take on Grand Canyon University, coached by former Longhorn three-time state champion R.C. LaHaye.
Western State emerged victorious 55-0.
For the Mountaineer team, two former longhorns Zack Lee (165) and Larry Wilbanks (174) competed. Lee won his weight class by a forfeit but then wrestled an exhibition, which he won on a pin in the third stanza. Wilbanks won 5-1 over GCU's Jack Porter.
Next up for the Longhorn wrestlers is participation in the Pat Kenney Invitational today, (Friday) and tomorrow in Holbrook.