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Balanced Horn attack brings big win over JV Lions

Long night for Ennis on road vs. 5A opponent
The JV Lion football team (2-1) had shut its first-two opponents down offensively, but the 5A Mesquite Horn Jaguars brought strong running and passing to the table on Thursday to earn an impressive 40-8 victory.
Horn averaged 6.3 yards per carry and finished with 406 yards of total offense to dominate time of possession. The Jags found that success despite 13 penalties for 107 yards.
The Lion offense was held to 2.3 yards per carry and six pass completions. Drops hurt Ennis in the passing game and the maroon team lost the turnover battle 2-1.
“Horn was pretty efficient throwing and catching; they also tackled well and we didn’t do any of those things very well tonight,” said coach Bryan Clark.
“I don’t think Horn was that much better than us by any means, but they played well and we didn’t. [Horn was] doing some things defensively that we should’ve been able to take advantage of, but we couldn’t.”
On a tough night for the Ennis offense, Dalton Snyder made a couple of great plays as he finished with two catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Curtis Tekell threw for 168 yards and led the team in rushing (5-22).
While it was a difficult evening overall for the Lion defense, there were a lot of big plays to be found. Dylan Honza had an outstanding game with two tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. Colten Hendrik was also sharp with a sack and a tackle for loss.
Other Lions with notable defensive plays included Elijah Christian (tackle for loss, sack on conversion attempt), Alfredo Bernal (extra-point block), Jon Lewis (sack), Kolton Bragg (tackle for loss), Dylan Howell (tackle for loss) and Cade Zmolik (tackle for loss).
Horn opened the game with a nine-play scoring drive, yet Ennis had several opportunities to prevent it from happening. The Jags actually recovered their own fumbles on two of the game’s first-three plays. Though Christian’s tackle for loss brought up fourth-and-nine, the Horn quarterback shed a tackle and rolled out to complete a 24-yard touchdown pass (0-6, extra point wide left).
“When Horn needed a big play, they made it over and over again,” Clark said.
“We couldn’t get a big stop when we needed it.”
An early penalty backed Ennis up in front of its own end zone moments later, but Tekell connected with Snyder down the deep middle and the receiver showcased impressive speed to outrace several defensive backs down the sideline for a 94-yard score. Fred Carroll made good on the conversion run for an 8-6 Lion lead.
“I was pleased to see Dalton show some speed and go all the way to score,” Clark said.
“We expect him to make those big plays and it turned out to be the highlight for us.”
On the second play of the next Horn possession, a receiver dropped a deep pass that surely would’ve been a 50-yard touchdown. After a Lewis sack put the Jags in a fourth-down situation, Honza recovered a fumble and returned it 19 yards. Credit the Horn defense, however, for stepping up to force a turnover on downs when the Lions had a great chance to build the lead.
The Jags then staged what turned out to be the game-winning, seven-play scoring drive. Overcoming a Bragg tackle for loss, Horn hit paydirt on a 12-yard pass. Bernal did manage to block the extra point (8-12).
A holding penalty hurt the Lions as they were forced to punt on their ensuing possession, and Horn went back to work with an 11-play scoring drive. The Jags converted a fourth-and-five to set up a 25-yard touchdown run (8-20, conversion run good).
A familiar pattern repeated itself as the Ennis offense was hurt by a penalty when it retook the field and was forced to punt. Horn went 70 yards in six plays for the score. A 35-yard excellent leaping grab put the home team in position and a three-yard run did the trick (8-26, conversion pass failed).
Tekell hit Snyder on the next drive for a tremendous 26-yard midair snag, but time expired in the half with Ennis at the Horn 20.
Coming out for the third quarter, Tekell drove the Lions across midfield with a couple of first-down completions to John Cox. While the Jags appeared to score a touchdown on a 60-yard interception return, only the pick stood due to a block in the back.
Horn overcame all sorts of adversity on an 11-play, 60-yard drive to increase the lead. Hendrik had a sack and a tackle for loss, while Honza and Howell made tackles for loss. Even so, the Jags scored another touchdown on fourth down with a 23-yard pass (8-32, conversion run failed due to Christian sack).
“Colten plays on both sides of the ball and it’s good to see him have another good game,” Clark said of a Lion who plays on both lines.
Horn forced Ennis to punt on its final possession of the third quarter as dropped passes continued to keep the Lions from moving the chains.
“I thought our O-line played decent to give Curtis protection in the passing game; we just couldn’t throw and catch,” Clark said.
A stop was a welcome sight early in the fourth quarter as the Ennis defense killed a nine-play Horn drive by forcing a turnover on downs. Honza had a tackle for loss and a sack in the span of three plays, while receiver-turned-cornerback Zmolik made a tackle for loss and then broke up the fourth-down pass with a crushing hit.
“Dylan is a great kid who plays hard on both sides of the ball and does a good job,” Clark said.
“He did play well tonight. Cade has a defensive mentality and he’s a fireball. It’s good for him to be excited out there and he’s pretty athletic, so he needs to make those types of plays.”
While Tekell converted a third down with a completion to Ryan Phillips on Ennis’ following drive, the Jags scooped up a Zarron Dove fumble and raced 48 yards to finalize the score (8-40, conversion run good). Horn ended the evening on a high note as its defense forced one more three-and-out.
The JV Lions will now travel to Waco High for a 7 p.m. contest next Thursday.
“We’ll watch a little video [on Friday] and then try to put this game behind us,” Clark said.
“Hopefully, we’ll play a lot better next week and get back to our form from the first couple of games.”

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Posted by on Sep 19 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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