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Football: Second half dooms Horizon Christian in loss to Covenant Academy
Horizon Christian's Michael Gul pursues Covenant Academy's quarterback Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

By Weston Walker

For the Forsyth County News

For a team searching for its first win of the season, Horizon Christian Academy’s first half Friday against Covenant Academy was a good sign. The Warriors’ fight matched Covenant Academy to a 14-14 tie.

But the second half was a different story. Injuries mounted as Covenant out-scored Horizon 22-0 in the second half of a 36-14 loss at home.

“It was just injuries, having people out of position, people tired,” Horizon head coach Charles Wiggins said. “When you play as hard as they did, and then all of a sudden, they’re down by two touchdowns, in my experience, it’s not good. You’re already done when that happens.”

Horizon Christian running back Leon He runs for a touchdown against Covenant Academy on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

A big play set up the Warriors’ first score. Quarterback Jake Mctyre handed off to receiver Alex Dahlberg, who hit fellow receiver Wesley Harris on a 57-yard pass down the sideline as the first quarter ended. Two plays later, Mctyre found tight end Michael Gul in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead.

The Warriors scored again several minutes later, after a long drive resulted in a one-yard touchdown run from running back Leon He to go up 14-6.

“We just executed those [touchdown] plays like we were supposed to,” Wiggins said.

The second half started promising too. Covenant opened the second half with possession, and the Warriors’ defense had two sacks and a turnover-on-downs.

Horizon Christian's Wesley Harris hauls in a catch against Covenant Academy on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

But then the injuries began to mount. Harris hurt his knee on that big first-half catch and never returned. Senior Jake Walker, a lineman on both sides, came out of the game with a shoulder injury, returned for a few series but later came out for good. Several players came out with cramps, though they all returned eventually.

It seemed Covenant quarterback Cody Farr found his rhythm as Horizon’s injuries accumulated. After completing 6 of 12 passes in the first half, Farr was 7-for-8 passing in the second half with two touchdowns and two two-point conversions. Covenant running back Griffin Marchman added a 41-yard touchdown run.

Meanwhile, Horizon couldn’t find any rhythm on offense. The Warriors’ first offensive possession of the second half ended with an interception. The rest of Horizon’s possession ended in punts or turnover-on-downs.

“When you have only 18 players, there is no such thing as depth,” Wiggins said.

Mctyre finished 8 of 11 passing for 58 yards with a touchdown and interception. Gul had four catches for 33 yards and a touchdown. Leon He had a team-high 24 yards rushing with a touchdown on 12 carries.

Horizon fell to 0-5 this season.

“Right now were just struggling,” Wiggins said. “That’s all I can say. We’re just struggling.”