Last Friday may have given us a taste of high school football, but Friday night was the real thing.
Unfortunately for Horizon Christian Academy, the season didn’t exactly start the way they wanted it to, as they dropped their season opener to Lanier Christian Academy 40-12.
Each of these teams played a sloppy first half. Lanier got on the board late in the first quarter when Jeremiah Bonds took a handoff eight yards through the middle of the Warriors’ defense, capping off a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive.
“In the first half, I thought we played well enough to win the game,” Horizon head coach Charles Wiggins said. “But in the second half we made too many mistakes.”
After taking a 7-0 lead into the half, the Lightning scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 19-0 lead.
Just when it seemed that the Warriors had seized some momentum, they gave it all right back. Quarterback Jake McTyre hit Alex Dahlberg for a 34-yard touchdown pass to cut the Lightning’s lead to 19-6 late in the third quarter. Dahlberg was one of the few bright spots for the Warriors. He had six carries for 61 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while also adding three receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Then, on the very first play of Lanier’s next drive, McTyre came up with an interception to give the Warriors the ball on their own 43-yard line.
The Warriors’ following drive could not have gone any worse. Horizon’s center snapped the ball over McTyre’s head on three consecutive plays, and they also sprinkled in a 15-yard penalty, as the drive resulted in a safety.
Then, to make matters worse, Bonds returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown, putting the Lightning up 27-6 late in the third. Bonds was unstoppable in this game. He had 14 touches for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
On the first play of the following drive, Lanier’s Caleb Dolan intercepted McTyre for his second interception of the game, and he took it 18 yards for a touchdown, effectively burying the Warriors.
“When you’re young like we are, you can’t make mistakes,” Wiggins said. “And we just made mistake, after mistake, after mistake. I think they scored like four touchdowns within three minutes in the third quarter. And it was all our fault. Ain’t nothing they did, it was all our doing.”
Lanier Christian Academy outgained Horizon Christian Academy 345-130, including 240-32 on the ground. The Warriors will travel to East Point next week to face Life Christian Academy.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Wiggins said. “We just didn’t do what we needed to do.”