Horizon did not get off to a good start and thus found itself in a close game going into halftime against Corona del Sol. In the second half, the Huskies (1-1) found a formula they liked and used it to blow out the Aztecs (0-2) 44-25 on Friday.
That formula? Defense forces a turnover. Offense converts turnover into points. Repeat. Horizon forced four consecutive turnovers in the second half (six in all) and ran off 24 straight points to blow the game wide open.
“The defense played hats off,” Horizon coach Kris Heavner said. "Last week this same offense put up 46 points against a Buena team that was a playoff team a year ago. So I was really pleased with the defense. They played lights out.”
The key sequence came on Corona’s first drive in the second half. Looking to answer back and pull within two, the Aztecs went for it on fourth-and-8 from the Huskies 15. The gamble would not pay off as backup quarterback Matt Asta was intercepted in the end zone by safety Brett Bishop, one of his two picks on the night.
“RJ (Rhiner, the Corona starting quarterback) got dinged a couple plays before that so we had to get him out just to clear the cobwebs,” Aztecs coach Tom Joseph said. “But I have no idea why we were giving the football to them. We should be taking care of the football. We don’t practice that.”
Horizon promptly converted that mistake into points as Jason McLaurin scored on a 22-yard run. Things got worse for Corona when they fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Huskies took over in Aztec territory. The fumble turned into a 25-yard Danny McAtamney field goal, giving Horizon a 37-18 lead that they would not look back from.
Offensively, the Huskies were firing on all cylinders the entire night as they racked up nearly 500 yards of offense. Quarterback Dalton Sneed led the way, completing 21 of 28 passes for 372 yards and two touchdowns. McLaurin caught seven passes for 110 yards and a score, while also rushing for another touchdown. Luke Quinn added 69 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries.
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” Sneed said. “That’s what coach always says and we stepped up tonight. Our offense started to click in the third and fourth quarter and we just ran away with it.”
Despite the big numbers, coach Heavner was not pleased with his offense, however.
“The offense was very sloppy. We grade these guys and we ran probably 75 plays tonight, 30 of them were busts," he said. "That’s almost half our offense, and yet we still put up close to 500 yards of offense. The sky’s the limit for us. We can play a lot better offensively if we just play sound.”
Horizon 44, Corona del Sol 25
First Downs: Horizon 22, Corona del Sol 17
Rushing: Horizon 24-131, Corona del Sol 37-205
Passing (comp.-att.-TD-INT): Horizon 22-28-375-2-1, Corona del Sol 12-21-165-1-3
Fumbles-Lost: Horizon 0-0, Corona del Sol 2-2
Penalties-yards: Horizon 9-90, Corona del Sol 5-40
Horizon 6 14 17 7 -- 44
Corona del Sol 12 6 0 7 – 25
Corona del Sol: Freeland 12 run (kick failed)
Horizon: Quinn 3 run (Quinn run failed)
Corona del Sol: Freeland 7 run (Rhiner pass fail)
Horizon: Salinas 6 pass from Sneed (McAtamney kick)
Horizon: McLaurin 6 pass from Sneed (McAtamney kick)
Corona del Sol: Fishburn 56 pass from Rhiner (Freeland run failed)
Horizon: Quinn 10 run (McAtamney kick)
Horizon: McLaurin 22 run (McAtamney kick)
Horizon: McAtamney 25 FG
Horizon: Quinn 5 run (McAtamney kick)
Corona del Sol: Asta 9 run (Baker kick)