A gaggle of penalties compounded by miscues and missed assignments were too much for the Longhorns to overcome in a 35-6 loss to the Camp Verde Cowboys.
Playing Sept. 2 in Longhorn Stadium the Horns shot themselves in the foot early and often.
And most shots they fired at themselves were high powered, magnum-sized mistakes that inflicted great pain.
Let’s take a look at just how the blunders and penalties slowed the Horns in the early going when the team was struggling to set the tone for a win.
In just the fifth play of the game, Payson was flagged for an offside penalty, which we now know was just one of many tickets to be issued.
With 9:15 to go in the quarter, officials flagged the Horns for a face mask penalty and with 6:22 remaining Payson was penalized for a false start.
Just 21 seconds later, quarterback Gunner Goodman, trying to scramble on a busted pass attempt, stepped out the back of the end zone for a two-point safety.
Less than a minute after kicking off to Camp Verde, Payson was flagged again, this one a 15-yard personal foul.
With 2:56 remaining, the Cowboys’ elusive quarterback, Deshon Tripp, who obviously deserved player of the game honors, rolled right and threw a 36-yard TD pass over the middle.
The Cowboys missed the conversion kick, but led 8-0.
With 1:55 remaining, the penalty bug struck again when Payson was penalized for holding. The flag wiped out a nice run by tailback Aaron Barnes.
Only 25 seconds later, Payson was ticketed again, this time 15 yards for an illegal block.
Late in the second quarter, the Cowboys scored on a 6-yard run around end that coupled with a successful conversion kick gave CV a 15-0 lead going into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, just when Payson was trying to rally, the Horns were cited for unsportsmanlike conduct and later for holding and a false start.
And so the game went, with Payson committing an unofficial 15 penalties that seemed to thwart their every offensive drive and defensive stop.
The score reached 22-0, 22-6, 29-6 and 35-6 before the game ended with the Cowboy signal caller taking a knee.
Official statistics were not available at press time, but the Horns did receive some nice runs from alternating tailbacks Cade DeSpain and Barnes. Unfortunately they were often wiped away by the same penalty problem that plagued the Longhorns in their season opening win over Chino Valley.
With state-ranked Fountain Hills next on the schedule, Sept. 9 in Fountain Hills, a Horn team goal in this practice week will obviously be to find ways to wipe out the penalties.
Most disturbing for coach Byron Quinlan are probably the unsportsmanlike conduct and personal foul flags, because they smack of a lack of personal discipline, which is something he has stressed since preseason camp.
In other games around the state involving Division IV teams, Blue Ridge beat Page 50-0, Show Low slipped past Florence 23-13, Seaton bumped Coronado 45-18, Snowflake romped over Alchesay 49-8 and the Winslow Bulldogs bit Holbrook 48-6.