Quarterback Ridge Halenar threw for three touchdowns in the first half to lead the Longhorns to a 3A non region 49-21 win over the defending North champion Winslow Bulldogs.
As good as the strong armed senior was Friday evening in PHS stadium, it was a potent running game led by David Carlen, Payson Herring, Brandon Alexander and Nick Goodman that paved the way to the victory.
Carlen broke off several long runs including a 52-yard dart in which he was tripped up at the two-yard line by the last defender. Carlen also had a 41-yard TD run. Goodman had a 57-yard run off a trap play.
Sophomore Westin Gibson tacked on Payson's final TD of the game on a 64-yard fourth quarter punt return.
In the fray, coach Josh Anderson had the luxury of having all three of his signal callers see significant playing time. After Halenar exited in the third stanza, Backup Shane Keith took over under center. In the fourth with the outcome of the game no longer in doubt, Gibson -- who could be the QB of the future -- assumed signal calling duties.
Early in the game, Winslow remained in contention closing Payson leads to 14-7 and 21-14 before the Longhorns broke away.
With the win, Payson improves to 2-0. Winslow fell to 0-2 with both losses to East region teams.