The number 13 hasn’t been a good omen for Scottsdale Horizon.
For the third straight game, the Huskies scored 13 points, dropping their third game in a row to start the season, losing 23-13 at home Friday in their 5A-II game with Anthem Boulder Creek (1-2).
Horizon quarterback Ryan Stanford threw two second-half touchdowns, but he was never able to get into a rhythm, completing just 23 of his 48 passes.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars, led by senior running back Dashawn Briggs’ 72 yards, ran wild on the Huskies defense, rushing for 240 yards on 41 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown run by Briggs in the fourth quarter that made the score 23-7 and put the game out of reach.
When asked what one thing is hurting Horizon (0-3) the most this season, coach Steve Casey pinpointed the problem. “Youth, that’s what’s killing us,” Casey said. “We’re playing against teams that have seniors, and we don’t have many seniors. We’re making young team mistakes.”
Stanford is one of those youthful players. Coming into the game he had completed just 39 percent of his throws. He fired downfield early and often in the first quarter but couldn’t find the mark, overthrowing two of his receivers that would have had surefire touchdowns had the ball been within their grasp.
Add to that his four interceptions to Jaguar defenders (three of them to Briggs), all of which killed scoring drives, and it was easy to see the inexperience Casey mentioned.
“He’s a sophomore trying to do a good job at the high school football level,” Casey said about his quarterback, who did throw two touchdowns. “He’s just got to keep working to get better and try to improve each week.”
By no coincidence, the one bright spot for Horizon was an upperclassman, wide receiver Donaven Anderson, who finished the game with 10 catches for 103 yards.
“We expected Donaven to have a good year,” Casey said. “He’s coming off an ankle injury, but now he’s finally 100 percent and he will be a big part of our passing game.”
Anderson racked up the yards, but it was Horizon wide receiver Cameron Ridel who made a 15-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter to get the Huskies on the board. Fellow wide receiver Marko Stankovic nabbed an 11-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds to go.
In order to get their first win of the season on the road next Friday against Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Casey said his team is going to have to do a better job of limiting their mistakes.
“We have a lot of kids playing hard, we just have to get everyone on the same level,” he said.