Payson’s ground-oriented power option attack, led by junior tailback Brandon Alexander, contained too much firepower for the Snowflake Lobos to overcome in the Longhorns' 36-19 state quarterfinal victory.
Alexander rushed for 210 yards on 13 carries in the win posted Nov. 15 at Mesa High School. With the win, the Horns (12-0) advance to a state final-four clash Nov. 22 at Paradise Valley High School. Kick off is 7 p.m. The Longhorns’ opponent, Wickenburg (12-0), advanced to the semifinals with a 43-13 win over the Round Valley Elks.
In the other state semifinal bracket, Blue Ridge - with a 46-7 victor over Estrella Foothills - will play No. 3 seed Fountain Hills. The Falcons earned a final four berth by beating Winslow 43-27. That game will be played at 4 p.m. Nov. 22, also at Paradise Valley High School.
In Payson’s win over Snowflake, Alexander scored on runs of 45, 36 and 34 yards thanks to sound blocking by Payson’s huge offensive line.
Quarterback Ridge Halenar threw only three passes, but completed all of them, including an 18-yard TD strike to sophomore Westin Gibson.
Payson led 21-0 at halftime and 36-7 late in the game before resilient Snowflake made the score a bit more respectable with a late run.
See the Nov. 18 edition of the Payson Roundup for complete coverage.