A whopping 175 yards in penalties, a crucial fumble after a long run, several mental mistakes and the loss of three key players ended the Longhorn football team’s season opening two-game winning streak.
In falling 14-7 to the Fountain Hills Falcons on Friday, Sept. 7 in PHS stadium, the Horns were their own worst enemies, committing penalties for holding, illegal blocks, illegal shifts and other infractions.
Also wide receiver Tyus Sarnowski fumbled away a scoring opportunity at the 7-yard line while reeling off a sizzling 73-yard run after hauling in a pass from quarterback Gunner Goodman.
The catch and run, although it was one of the finest seen recently in Longhorn stadium, went for naught because of the fumble.
The Horns also struggled after losing lineman Ty Davis and Zach Tatman to injuries. Quarterback Gunner Goodman was also forced to leave the game after incurring an ankle injury.
First-year coach Jake Swartwood said Davis could be lost for the season to a knee injury and the coach is not sure about the availability of Tatman for Friday’s, Sept. 14 game vs. Miami.
Goodman, Swartwood said, might be held out vs. Miami, but the seriousness of his injury won’t be known until medical evaluations are complete.
If Goodman can’t play, Miguel Mendoza, normally a wide receiver, will take over signal calling duties.
In the loss to Fountain Hills, Payson’s only score came in the second quarter when Goodman hooked up with Mendoza, then playing receiver, on a 17-yard pass. Dean Harpe kicked the extra point.
Fountain Hills, meanwhile, roared back to win by scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns set up by Horn miscues.
“Blown coverages,” said Swartwood. “But you can’t win when you have more penalties and turnovers (than your opponent).”
Game time Friday in Miami is 7 p.m.