Lobos Are Thorns In Horns' Hooves

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If the study course "Payson High School Football History 101" were ever offered in local classrooms, younger members of the PHS team and staff would learn that the Snowflake Lobos have been thorns in Horns' hooves for the past 28 years.

During that stretch, Payson has beaten the Lobos just twice -- in 1999 and again in 2005.

In the years from 1980 -- when the Longhorns first begun playing Snowflake on a regular basis --ntil 1999, Payson was always on the losing end of the final score.

One of the most disappointing loses occurred in 1984 when the Terry Nodlinski-coached Horns took a 6-0 lead over Snowflake into the fourth quarter.

But in the course of six minutes and 29 seconds, the Lobos scored four touchdowns to win 27-6.

One year earlier, Payson outplayed the Lobos behind Mark Sylvester's 98 yards rushing, but lost 17-2.

In 1986, a very good Longhorn team advanced to the state championship, where Payson dropped a gut-wrenching 7-0 decision to the Lobos.

One year later, Payson took to Snowflake probably one of the top-three teams in the history of the school, but lost 19-7, mostly because of several crucial errors.

No one remembers that loss better than fullback/linebacker Greg Alexander, who now has two sons on the current Longhorn football squad.

That win was the Lobos third victory over Payson in two seasons.

In 1991, the Longhorns had the defending state champion and state top ranked Lobos -- coached by Jim Beall, who later became PHS head coach --n the ropes before losing 9-6.

David Daniels scored in the third quarter on a 25-yard bootleg run to give the Horns a 6-3 lead.

Late in the fourth quarter, after defensive coordinator Don Heizer's charges had stalled Beall's power option offense all evening long, Snowflake fullback Chance Green bulled into the end zone for the winning points.

Payson had one last gasp at salvaging a win, but the clock ran out with the Horns threatening to score.

Although Payson fielded an undefeated state championship team in 1998, the Horns did not meet the Lobos because PHS was aligned in the Central region and Snowflake in the East.

Just when many fans and players were wondering if the Snowflake jinx would ever end, the 1999 team -- led by quarterback Kyle Conway -- snapped the losing streak.

In one of the most dramatic games ever witnessed in Longhorn stadium, Conway hooked up with Dusty Brockett on a fourth-down desperation scoring strike, with 3.4 seconds remaining, to lift the Horns to a 26-23 victory.

Following the game, Conway predicted the long and dreaded hex Snowflake held over Payson was at an end.

However, in the six years after the upset, the Horns failed to again beat the Lobos.

In 2005, the Horns etched their name in the gridiron record books by becoming the first Payson High School varsity football team to win in Snowflake.

With B.J. Hill at starting quarterback, the Horns unleashed a rock 'em, sock 'em ground attack led by speedster Luke Apfel, who finished with 186 yards on 26 carries.

The Horn defense, led by Kevin Allen, Don Engler and Cash and Steele Armstrong, held Snowflake to a miniscule 14 yards rushing.

most Snowflake vs. Payson gridiron battles have turned in favor of the Lobos.

But tonight in PHS stadium, the Longhorns players have the opportunity to build on the school's football legacy by becoming only the third Payson varsity team to beat Snowflake.

The clash, which kicks off at 7 p.m., marks the end of the regular season for both schools.

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