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Football: Warriors defend home turf against Lafayette
Liam Random
Horizon Christian's Liam Random elevates over Lafayette for an interception in the win. - photo by Derrick Richemond

In a Friday afternoon home game, Horizon Christian defeated Lafayette Christian 18-12, and broke out of a two-game slump in its region opener.

The Warriors' first offensive series didn’t go as they planned. Quarterback Isaac Bealer was tossed around and sacked by Carl Evert from the edge three consecutive times.

Lafayette Christian had to start its first series on its own 8-yard line due to a great punt by Bealer.

After a few good runs by quarterback Alex Tusing, Lafayette Christian decided to let running back Ephraim Snyder get the rock. However, a bad pitch by Tusing went out too wide for Snyder, and the Warriors fell onto it, giving the ball back to the offense.

Horizon Christian wasted no time capitalizing on the turnover. On the very first play, Bealer threw an over-the-shoulder pass to wide receiver Liam Random. In the end, the score was 6-0 due to a blocked PAT.

The Warriors wanted revenge and got it by sneaking an onside kick, and Jacob McCoy recovered the football to start Horizon's third offensive series with 5:53 remaining in the first quarter.

Horizon (2-3, 1-0) came out of the huddle and lined up in doubles right, with Will Maher lined up outside. Maher used his speed to outrun his defender on a vertical route.

There was no mistaking Bealer's intent, and he quickly demonstrated his awareness by launching a ball that landed in the hands of Maher, who couldn't quite reel it in. The Warriors ran the same play again, but Bealer underthrew Maher this time, allowing Lafayette's defensive back to pick off the pass at the 24-yard line.

After a slow start, Lafayette's drive stalled and the team was unable to capitalize on the turnover, punting the ball on fourth-and-22.

Maher knew he had to put the dropped pass behind him and try to spark the offense.

Indeed he did, catching a pass to make third down more manageable. Then, Maher hauled in a well-thrown ball in the middle of the field, accelerating away from defenders for a 56-yard touchdown.

The Warriors decide to go for the 2-point conversion, but Tusing read the play and prevented Jackson Harris from reaching the end zone.

Tusing gave Lafayette a speedy return to the Warriors' 45 line, but the offense continued to struggle. Defensive end Carson Chapman was able to track down Tusing on a quarterback power read to make it fourth-and-long.

Lafayette (3-2, 0-1) showed no signs of hesitation in going for it. Tusing tried to throw to wide receiver Braden Firth on a post route, but Random elevated over him to make an impressive interception.

After juking a few of Lafayette’s offensive linemen, he was finally brought down at the 35-yard line.

Horizon Christian wanted to reward Random on offense by designing a play for him. Random ran a go route, but Tusing came from his safety position and ball-hawked Bealer's pass, giving Bealer his second interception of the game.

The Warriors played great defense to prevent Lafayette from cutting the lead as Horizon went into halftime up 12-0.

Dealing with second-and-short, Tusing threw a pass intended for his running back Chaz Clark, but Harris leapt over Clark to record Tusing’s second interception.

Damon Taylor, the head coach of the Horizon Christian Warriors, was pleased with the way his defense played. Horizon Christian had given up 40-plus points in each of their last two games.

“They’re performing well," Taylor said of his defense's first-half performance. "A lot of the new kids are starting to step up and you can tell the light bulb is going off. I’m just happy to see those guys are learning.”

Jackson Harris
Horizon Christian's Jackson Harris leaps to catch an interception in the win against Lafayette. - photo by Derrick Richemond

Coming out of the half, the Warriors tried their luck on another onside kick and were successful. In spite of that, Lafayette's defensive line stopped the Warriors from getting a first down, forcing a three-and-out.

Another big sack by Chapman on fourth down set up the offense in great field position to score.

After two block in the back penalties prohibited Harris from running into the end zone, on his third try, the Warriors lined him up out left as a receiver. Harris caught a pass from Bealer to increase the lead.

In the fourth quarter, Lafayette was able to get on the scoreboard when their wide receiver got open in the middle of the field.

Lafayette turned the tables on the Warriors by recovering an onside kick. Lafayette marched downfield and tacked on another six points to cut the lead to 18-12.

Lafayette was able to retrieve the football again, but its offense struggled to move the ball, burning the clock before they had a chance to reach the end zone.

Bealer finished 6-for-12 passing for 114 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. Harris totaled 36 yards receiving and 33 rushing. Maher posted 76 yards on just four touches.

Chapman paced the Warriors defense, racking up 16 tackles and two tackles for loss. Harris managed 14 stops and added the interception.

Following an open date, Horizon will make the short trip Oct. 7 to rival Fideles Christian (3-2, 1-0) for another Region 1-2A matchup in GAPPS 8-man football.