Horns Pierce Lobos 49-19


Almost 30 years of frustration was erased Friday evening in Payson High School stadium where the Payson Longhorns ran roughshod over the Snowflake Lobos 49-19.

In the series between the two small town rivals, which began in 1980, the Horns had beaten the Lobos only twice - in 1999 and 2005.

Compounding the frustration Horns fans, players and coaches felt was last season's 22-21- loss to Snowflake. In that game, the Lobos scored a two-point conversion in the final minutes to salvage the comeback victory.

All those woes were forgotten last evening by an overflow crowd who cheered Payson's every move as senior fullback Nick Alexander rushed for three touchdowns on runs of one, 11 and three yards.

Payson (7-3 overall, 2-3 in the East) scored first with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter to give the team a lead it never relinquished.

Quarterback Ridge Halenar, who misfired on his first three passes, eventually hooked up with Shane Keith on a 21-yard scoring strike and later found tight end Troy Brown open on a 47-yard TD aerial.

In addition to throwing for two scores, Halenar tallied another TD on the first play of the second quarter rambling six yards off an option keeper play.

Sophomore Cliff Lopez, who came into his own last week when he rushed for 112 yards in the Horns 40-8 win over Alchesay, scored the Horns final TD on a 37-yard fourth quarter scamper.

With the win, the Horns wrap up the regular season tied for third place in the East region standings with Round Valley and Snowflake.

Payson will now take the 3A conference's No. 6 seed, based on power points, to the state tournament which kicks off Nov. 2 at the home site of the highest seed.

In the opening round, the Longhorns will host No. 11 Parker of the West region.

In other East region regular season ending action, state top ranked Blue Ridge remained unbeaten with a 42-14 victory over the Round Valley Elks.

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