By John DeCoste
The Horton Griffins served notice on the opening weekend of the high school football season they may be a team to watch in 2013.
The Griffins opened the NSSAFFL season in fine style Sept. 7 in Wolfville with a 49-0 victory over the Sackville Kingfishers.
“Sackville isn’t bad. They’re a young team, like we are,” Horton head coach Alec Hyndman said, despite the relatively lopsided score.
“Both teams made mistakes.”
The Griffins “ran the ball really well,” he added, and ended up with a solid performance both on defence and special teams.
Fullback Duncan Hill finished with 148 yards on six carries, including touchdown runs of 48 and 94 yards.
That was our surprise moment,” Hyndman said. “We had no idea Duncan was as fast as he was on Saturday.”
Cam Davidson had an outstanding game, rushing for 160 yards on 14 carries and touchdown runs of 10 and 48 yards, despite only playing the first half.
Davidson added 194 yards on four punt returns, including returns of 62 and 75 yards for touchdowns.
“I was quite impressed,” Hyndman said, adding that Davidson scored “the first two touchdowns on punt returns in the three years he’s played for us. Cam put a lot of time and effort into his off-season. Obviously his hard work is paying off.”
Horton ended up with 366 rushing yards. The final touchdown came courtesy of an interception by Gabe Morgan. He didn’t score on the play, but on the next play from scrimmage, Jake Melanson connected with Morgan on a touchdown pass.
Michael Ogilvie added six converts in seven attempts to round out the scoring.
On defence, Horton had four interceptions, two by Hill and one each by Morgan and Josh Willoughby.
Hyndman called the margin of victory “unexpected.”
“I expected a closer game where we’re so young, but our young guys can play football,” he said, and in response to a 36-0 halftime score, he put in all his backups in the second half.
Meanwhile, in an all-Valley matchup, Central Kings scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to top the NKEC Titans 38-7 Sept. 7 in Canning.
“I was really proud of my players and how they played,” Gators’ head coach Larry Priestnall said. After a slow start, quarterback Jacob Shepherd “ran the offence with a lot of confidence” in the second half.
Tailback Ben Best ran for more than 200 yards, and though he didn’t score on offense (he had a 78-yard touchdown run called back on a penalty), he did return an interception for a touchdown on defence. Matt Priestnall caught three touchdown passes, one in the first half and two in the second.
NKEC head coach Reg Ogilvie felt his team “played a solid first half,” which saw Central Kings leading 14-7 at halftime, but fell victim to “too many turnovers” the entire game, mainly the result of inexperience. NKEC also had a touchdown called back on a penalty.
The Titans’ defence “played outstanding the whole game,” but “kept giving them the ball with a short field to work with, which is never good.”
Ogilvie had special praise for Dre Medicraft and Will Keddy (who scored the NKEC touchdown on a pass from Brandon Bigelow) on offence and Marcel Bolland, Jarred Schnare and Jon Main on defence.
This coming week, Horton is at Sir John A. Macdonald Sept. 12, NKEC hosts C.P. Allen Sept. 13 at 4:30 p.m., Central Kings is at Citadel and West Kings hosts Dr. J.H. Gillis Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.