It seems like it’s been forever, but Scottsdale Horizon is finally winning games again.
The Huskies broke a three-game losing streak in a big way on Friday with a 42-20 homecoming victory over Phoenix North Canyon.
After starting the season with four straight wins, Horizon fell on hard times, dropping three straight to Mesa, Chaparral and then last week to Phoenix St. Mary’s. One month is a long time to go without a win, and the Huskies were relieved.
“We lost our confidence and things went downhill,” Husky quarterback Ryan Stanford said. “Everyone was pumped up for this one because it was homecoming.”
Horizon’s offense, whether it was on the ground or through the air, was nearly unstoppable. Running back Matt Jones was sensational, rushing 23 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns. And he may have not been the player of the game.
Stanford was brilliant in leading the Huskies to five scoring drives in the first half against their Desert Valley Region rivals. The only time Horizon (5-3, 1-2) didn’t find the end zone was when time ran out on them at the end of the second quarter. Stanford finished the game 18-of-30 passing for 343 yards and four touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Michael Glidden was the main benefactor as he collected touchdown passes of 27 yards and 68 yards from Stanford, a junior.
The 27-yard pass gave Horizon a 7-0 lead.
The only good news for the Rattlers (3-5, 0-3) on Friday was the touchdown they scored late in the first quarter to tie the score it at 7. It was the first touchdown in three games for North Canyon, a team that had been shut out in back-to-back games by Phoenix Pinnacle and Scottsdale Desert Mountain. The score came via a 2-yard pass from quarterback Dominic Portocarrero to junior running back Tavonn Dodson.
Horizon, still very much alive for a 5A-II playoff berth, answered back with 28 straight points with Stanford hitting Glidden and Dushawn Brown with scoring passes and Jones adding rushing TDs of 5 and 48 yards.
It was a first half in which Horizon’s leading receiver, Nate Defreitas, didn’t catch a pass.
“They had two guys on him, and that opened up everybody else,” Stanford said. “We won the game so I don’t think he’s worried.”
Defreitas made his mark in the second half. His first catch of the game was a 74-yard touchdown.
Portocarrero led North Canyon to two second-half touchdowns and finished the game with 273 yards passing. He did throw two interceptions.
Horizon leads North Canyon 7-0 after a 27-yard TD pass from Ryan Stanford to Michael Glidden with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
Stanford's 6-yard touchdown pass to Dushawn Brown gives Horizon a 14-7 lead over North Canyon at the end of the first quarter.
Matt Jones scores on 5-yard run to give Horizon a 21-7 lead over North Canyon. The score was set up by a 53-yard fumble return by Huskies DE Matt McArdle.
Stanford hits Glidden on a 68-yard touchdown pass, making it 35-7 Horizon over North Canyon with 4:18 left in the half.
North Canyon (3-4, 0-2) at Horizon (4-3, 0-2)
Time: 7 p.m.
Address: 5601 E. Greenway Road, Scottsdale
Key matchup: North Canyon has moved the ball on Pinnacle and Desert Mountain, but was ravaged by turnovers both times. Can Horizon's defense do the same after it allowed 31 points to St. Mary's in three quarters of play last week.
Key stat: North Canyon has been shut out for two consecutive games.
The intrigue: Somebody has to win, right? Thanks to Cesar Chavez and Salpointe postseason bans, North Canyon is still hanging on in the 5A Division I playoff picture. Based on opponent wins, Horizon has played the toughest schedule to date in 5A-II but the Huskies are slipping in the rankings and will need at least one win in these three games to keep themselves alive.