I went into this thinking Lake Highlands and Mesquite Horn were closely-matched teams. Boy, was that off the mark.
Horn QB Emory Miller had a field day with the LH defense. He always had an open receiver and never missed his target. Most of his completions were little screens to the sideline and dump-offs to the flat. But the receivers were always open and they were good enough athletes to get ample yards after the catch.
Miller could hit receivers running downfield as well, whether crossing the middle or sprinting to the end zone. He had perfect touch on fades to the corner. Miller is also a terrific runner, but he never really needed to show that side of his game because he was so effective passing the ball.
The defense got pressure on Miller, sacking him several times for losses. But every time Horn was in a third-and-long or similar situation, Miller could just lob a pass to a back or receiver who would then race up the sideline for a first down.
The only way for LH to defend that is to just work, work, work in practice to get better. If LH is lucky enough to see Horn again in the playoffs, it will be interesting to see how much the Wildcats can improve at defending Miller.
There were other miscues besides on defense. There were too many penalties, and often at the worst times. There was a turnover. The were several high snaps to QB Ricky Zorn. And for the second week in a row LH bungled a kickoff return to get pinned deep.
All of these errors can be corrected with more practice and hard work. To read some of the positives, click on the jump.
The biggest positive is that this LH team knows better than most that non-district is a time to get better. LH was 1-1 at this point last year as well, and finished non-district 1-2 before reeling off nine consecutive wins.
You could see that in the effort LH gave, even when down several touchdowns. Most impressive was the running of Desmond Roland, who keep running with determination late into the game.
Jason Dann had another nice night, although it was mostly as a punter. He pinned Horn deep several times and had great hang time.
With the kind of night Miller was having throwing the ball, to waves of talented receivers, LH needed to be perfect to keep pace. The Wildcats aren’t ready to give a perfect performance yet, but they could be at some point this season. Now that LH has had its nose bloodied a little bit, the Cats have a chance to show what they’re made of next week against a highly regarded Garland team.
And not that it’s any consolation to LH fans, but if Mesquite Horn continues to play at this high level, this loss won’t look quite as bad in a few weeks. LH’s offense couldn’t get any traction because Horn had so many long scoring drives, but as well as Horn was playing offensively, a lesser team than LH would have given up 50 points or more.
Like I said, it’s not much consolation right now, but it’s a time for perspective, not panic.