The Horton Griffins football team made it into the win column in week two of the NSSAF football season, scoring a 23-7 win over Halifax West Sept. 15 in Halifax.
Horton built a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, but was able to score just two points the rest of the way, to the disappointment of head coach Alec Hyndman.
While acknowledging the Griffins had scored more than enough points to win the game, “we just can’t seem to get it together,” Hyndman said of his team.
Horton had several chances to add to its lead in the second half, he said, only to have the scores denied – and, in a couple of cases, called back – due to what the coach termed “mental mistakes – little stuff.”
Hyndman said the Griffins “are a talented group,” despite having only two Grade 12 starters on offence, “but just haven’t come together yet.”
He was hopeful this past weekend’s game, even though Horton was playing Citadel, would end up being an improvement.
All three Horton touchdowns Sept. 15 came on rushing plays – by fullback Isaac Melanson, tailback Mike Ogilvie and a quarterback sneak by Luke Oulton.
This is Oulton’s first season as Horton’s full-time quarterback, and Hyndman says he’s doing fine, under the circumstances.
“(Quarterback) is not Luke’s primary position. He’s an amazing defensive player, and we’re asking him to do something completely different,” Hyndman said.
At 1-1 after two weeks, Hyndman was “still happy with where we are,” although he has some concerns with the division set-up being used in high school football this season.
The Griffins are playing Division 1, which sees them play all their games against much larger schools. As a result, Hyndman is forced to play his top players most of the time in order to stay competitive.
Unlike past years, in which the Griffins played a range of opponents, both larger and smaller schools, under the current set-up, “we aren’t able to develop our younger players because we have to use our top guys so much of the time.”
The Griffins’ next four games are against Citadel, Sir John A. Macdonald, CEC and C.P. Allen.
“My competitive nature wants us to play D-1. I feel we have a decent shot at making the playoffs, but only by using our most experienced players all the time,” he said.
“The younger kids aren’t getting the experience, and if I do end up having to use them (later in the season), they’ll have a greater risk of getting hurt.”
While Hyndman said he will gladly play D-1 and take his lumps against the top teams in exchange for the higher level of competition, he says he’s frustrated at the division set-up and the fact it seems to be different every year.
“This is my eighth season as coach, and I think this is the sixth different format I’ve seen, and never for two seasons in a row.”