A rifle-armed quarterback with D-1 potential, the top offense in the 3A East, four receiver sides and a variety of screen plays wasn’t enough to derail the Longhorn football express as it steams toward region and state championships.
With the Horns’ impressive 51-14 victory over the highly touted Round Valley Elks Friday evening in PHS stadium Payson improves to 7-0 and is tied with the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets (7-0) for first pace in the East standings. Both teams are 2-0 in the region.
The two undefeated rivals meet Oct. 17 in Payson for the region lead and the inside track to the state playoffs.
With the win over RV the Horns temporarily remain atop the power point rankings which are used to seed teams into the state tournament.
In the crucial region clash between RV and Payson, the Horns jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on touchdown runs by junior tailback Brandon Alexander who scored on 30-yard and 3-yard TD scampers. On the evening, Alexander scored three touchdowns.
Payson led 17-0 with 7:18 in the first half on Josh Frewin’s 25-yard field goal.
Round Valley, however, was not to be denied and stormed back to score on a five-play 77-yard drive. The TD and the ensuing conversion kicked pulled the Elks to within 17-7.
About three minutes later, the Horns answered on quarterback Ridge Halenar’s 46-yard scoring run that pushed the halftime count to 24-7.
With 8:13 remaining in the third stanza, Halenar scored again following fullback David Carlen into the end zone. Minutes earlier, Carlen had been churning out big chunks of yardage between the tackles The TD and Frewin’s EP kick gave PHS a 31-7 lead. The scoring drive was kept alive on several penalties including unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Horns later rolled the tally to 37-7 and 45-7. The second TD was scored on Nick Goodman’s 20-yard TD run.
The PHS rally took its toll on the Elks psyche who had a player ejected from the game on unsportsmanlike like conduct.
At the onset of the fourth quarter, coach Josh Anderson emptied his bench playing reserves. Sophomore Westin Gibson, who had seen considerable action on special teams and defense, took over at quarterback.
Sophomore Clint Godac scored the Horns final TD on a 1-yard plunge.