Mingus running back Tyler Herndon and his talented Marauder teammates were too much for the Longhorns to overcome in a 54-0 Division IV shellacking played Oct. 5 in Mingus.
Herndon was a one-man show, rushing for 128 yards on nine carries and scoring three TDs.
The 6-foot, 190-pound scatback got the Mingus gridiron show off and running on a 29-yard TD with 6:44 to go in the first quarter.
The Horns played the Marauders on even terms most of the opening stanza, but in the second quarter, Mingus broke open the game with three touchdowns to take a 27-0 lead into the halftime locker room.
At the end of the third quarter, with the score 34-0, the Horns maintained a glimmer of hope at keeping the final score close.
But the fourth quarter opened with Herndon scoring again, this time on a 19-yard run, to put an end to any Longhorn hopes.
With the win, state third-ranked Mingus improves to 6-1 and Payson falls to 4-3.
The good news for Payson is their final three games, vs. River Valley (Oct. 12), Coronado (Oct. 19), and Globe (Oct. 26) are very winnable, which means Payson could wrap up the regular season with a 7-3 mark that should be good enough to earn a berth in the postseason playoffs.
Of those final games, River Valley might be the toughest. The Dust Devils are 4-3, but are on a three-game winning streak. Those triumphs however came against suspect teams — Williams, Antelope and Parker.
If the Horn players can buckle down this practice week and regain focus, there is a legitimate chance they will be clutching a ducat to the big dance at season’s end. Once there, history has proven anything can happen.