A key injury and a failed passing game spelled doom for Scottsdale Horizon as the Huskies lost to Phoenix North Canyon 13-7 Friday night.
All five of the Huskies’ losses have come against 5A-I teams, and Friday’s loss was the most demoralizing, especially with Pima II Region play starting next week against high-powered Tempe Marcos de Niza.
“We just didn’t execute. It’s my fault,” Horizon coach Steve Casey said. “I’m taking the blame for this and the blame for the season.
“We’ll be changing some things on Monday. I just have to toughen them up. We’ve been too easy on them. We don’t take care of the little things, so when it gets down to crunch time, we don’t make the plays we’re supposed to make.”
After gaining just seven rushing yards in a loss to Gilbert last week, Horizon (1-5) came out of the gates strongon Friday, scoring just 21 seconds into the game on a 19-yard rush by junior J.D. Souder.
The quick score was set up by another big run, a 44-yard dash by senior running back Quintin Nelson.
Nelson looked sharp early, gaining 61 yards on his first five attempts. But on the Huskies’ third possession, Nelson rolled his right ankle on a run and was lost for the game.
While Souder was effective at times, the offense struggled without its star tailback.
Without a proven running game behind him, sophomore quarterback Kevin Spain had trouble finding openings in a solid North Canyon (4-2) secondary.
Scrambling on almost every attempt, Spain finished the game 4-for-25 with an interception and ended the performance on an 0-for-15 stretch.
“He’s no longer a sophomore,” Casey said of Spain. “It’s the sixth game of the season. I’m not putting the blame on Kevin, but he’s got to play better.”
On the other side of the ball, North Canyon quarterback Dominic Portacererro didn’t excel, but he didn’t need to.
Portacererro was 11-for-21 for 96 yards and scored the Rattlers’ only two touchdowns — a 3-yard run in the first quarter that tied the game 7-7, and an 8-yard scamper to lock the game up in the fourth quarter.