It took a determined second half flurry for the Payson Longhorns to throw the knock out punch that finally floored defending state champion Show Low.
Trailing 21-13 at halftime and looking nothing like a state second ranked team, the Horns out scored the gritty Cougars 19-0 in the second half to salvage a 32-21 victory.
With the win Friday evening, Oct. 3, in Show Low, the Horns improve to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the East.
The Horns, however, wouldn’t have returned to Payson undefeated had it not been for the efforts of diminutive running back Payson Herring. The sophomore scored three touchdowns one of which was a 72-yard punt return with 7:10 remaining in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed but the TD pulled Payson to within 21-19.
In the fourth quarter, quarterback Ridge Halenar hooked up with Herring on a 40-yard TD pass to give Payson the lead for the first time in the game.
Herring’s other score came with 4:41 remaining in the first half on a 45-yard TD run.