The Longhorns needed a positive performance.
They got it.
Sophomore Wyatt Chapman rushed for 255 yards and five touchdowns as Payson’s football team exploded for 10 touchdowns in a 67-35 blowout of visiting Globe on Friday night.
The Horns were reeling from three losses in four games. But they did their best to put behind them a disappointing second-half performance in a 33-19 homecoming loss to St. Johns two weeks ago and last week’s 55-14 thumping at Fountain Hills.
The offense was clicking on all cylinders despite the absence of starting quarterback Miguel Mendoza as they improved to 4-3. The senior missed his second consecutive game with a knee injury, but is expected to return this week at Snowflake according to head coach Jake Swartwood.
“I was happy to see us come out in the first half and really push it and stay with drives and keep the throttle down and not ease up on somebody,” Swartwood said.
With sophomore Brian Skinner under center once again, PHS burst out of the gate to score on its first five possessions and build a 34-0 lead. That’s after the Tigers surprised the Horns by recovering an onside kick to open the game. But the home team got the momentum back by stopping Globe for no gain on fourth-and-4 from the Payson 31. And Chapman burst through a big hole off left tackle on first down for a 69-yard score 3:35 into the contest that opened the floodgates and led to one of the highest scoring games in program history.
It may be a record point total, but the Roundup could not confirm that. Checking MaxPreps.com, the only time they scored 60 points in records dating back to the 2004 season came in a 62-0 win over Holbrook on Nov. 8, 2008.
It is easily the most points PHS has scored this season, eclipsing the 42 points in a Sept. 6 win at Page.
And Chapman was the key. The young speedster carried the ball 20 times. He also broke free for a 52-yard touchdown and added scoring runs of 29, 12 and 1 yards.
The 3A/Division IV record for touchdowns in a game is eight by Chinle’s Trent Thompson against Red Mesa in 1986. The record for touchdowns in a game in all divisions is 10 in Class 1A by Vincent Alvarado of Seligman vs. Canyon State in 2004.
“That was great,” Chapman said. “It felt really good. Our offensive line did really great. They opened up the holes. It was one of the best games our line has had.”
Skinner had more success in his second start running the offense than in his first. After completing just 11 of 28 passes and being intercepted twice at Fountain Hills, the 10th-grader was six of 10 for 75 yards and a pair of TDs with no interceptions. He hit Tyus Sarnowski with a 20-yard scoring pass in the first quarter and found Dean Harpe open for a 10-yard strike in the second quarter.
Skinner also ran 10 times for 56 yards and a 4-yard TD 1:38 into the fourth quarter after Globe took the momentum by scoring three third-quarter TDs to cut the deficit to 14 points, 41-27.
Chapman scored on a 1-yard run four seconds later after Jesse Barry recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Globe 1 when the Tigers mistakenly let the kick go, either thinking it would go into the end zone for a touchback or that they’d get the ball wherever the Horns downed it.
Chapman tacked on a 29-yard run with 6:31 remaining and Trevor Anderson capped the scoring on a 7-yard run with 1:47 on the clock after Globe junior quarterback Joseph Burk raced 52 yards to pay dirt with 4:25 unplayed.
Sarnowski also returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown 1:30 later to make it 34-0. But the senior left with a hip injury, which isn’t serious, according to Swartwood.
Sarnowski had 158 all-purpose yards, catching two passes for 39 yards and returning three punts for 119 yards.
Chapman had 291 all-purpose yards, returning three kicks/punts for 36 yards.
Burk, who ran 16 times for 127 yards, was eight of 20 for 66 yards, one TD and two interceptions passing. Harpe picked him off in the first quarter to set up Chapman’s 12-yard scoring run. Barry also had an interception.
While the Longhorns were running 39 times for 347 yards and amassing 422 yards of total offense, the Tigers were busy offensively, as well. Globe ran 44 times for 283 yards.
Burk and big sophomore Nicholas Silva led the way, rushing for two TDs apiece. Silva rumbled for 135 yards on 18 carries. He broke several tackles on a 40-yard touchdown run with 1:38 to play in the third quarter that pulled the Tigers within 41-27.
Globe had three turnovers. In addition to the two interceptions, the Tigers also lost one of their three fumbles. Payson had two turnovers, losing two of its three fumbles.
PHS was penalized seven times for 60 yards.
Brodie Dalle Nogare had 103 all-purpose yards for Globe. He had 84 yards on seven kick/punt returns and caught four passes for 23 yards, including a 13-yard TD pass from Burk to open the third-quarter scoring.
Swartwood was thrilled with the offensive production, but concerned with the defensive performance. It is the most points allowed in a Payson win in available records. It’s the first time the Longhorns have surrendered 30 or more points in a win since beating Blue Ridge 34-33 in double overtime in the 2008 Class 3A state championship game.
The defense has simply not played as well in the second half as it has in the first half in several games this season and that was certainly the case against the Tigers, at least in the third quarter.
“I’m not happy about the couple turnovers we had in the second half,” he said. “We came out in the third quarter and we had probably a good seven or eight minutes of just not being able to stop the run. We had mental mistakes like going offside and a fumble on a pitch where we hit the fullback’s head with it. I don’t know what it is. We’ve just got to figure out a way to keep them focused in the second half.”
But the Longhorns regrouped to score four TDs in the final quarter.
“I was pleased to see them late third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter figure it out,” Swartwood said. “They found that drive again. We called it heart and playing with pride. They came out and showed that at the end of the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter.”
The coach said he was happy to see his players overcome the loss of Sarnowski, one of the top receivers and defensive backs in the state.
“We put up 30-something points with our run in the second half,” he said. “For us, that’s a huge deal to be able to put those points up in the second half, especially after Tyus goes down and we’ve got to pull him out. In the past we’ve been extremely deflated by injuries. But I thought it says a lot about these kids tonight, especially seeing your leader go down, already having your quarterback down and being able to push through and step up and find other people to make game-changing plays for us.”
The Longhorns hope to build on this win when they visit 6-1 Snowflake on Friday.