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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Horton hears who dominated Falcons
It didn’t matter to Jae’Wuan Horton that the North Stafford football team was visiting an opponent on a 32-game winning streak.
It also didn’t matter to the Wolverines’ senior defensive end that his assignment was to maneuver past a future Division I offensive lineman and chase down a quarterback headed to Vanderbilt.
Horton proved up to the task as he led a ferocious North Stafford defense that kept Briar Woods’ play-makers out of the end zone in a 19–7 victory this past Friday.
The Falcons’ only score came when offensive lineman Bryan Capozzoli scooped up a fumble by quarterback Trace McSorley and rumbled 15 yards for a touchdown.
North Stafford coach Joe Mangano said Horton (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) stayed in Briar Woods’ backfield so often the Falcons had to use a running back to provide extra help for 2012 all-state tackle Jared Coker.
That change took away a weapon for Briar Woods’ offense and allowed the Wolverines (4–0) to keep the Falcons in check. It also helped Horton earn Free Lance-Star Player of the Week honors.
“He kind of gave [Coker] everything he could handle. He was very disruptive,” Mangano said of Horton. “He was constantly either pressuring the quarterback or forcing him out of the pocket and making him do what he didn’t want to do. Eventually they had to chip him with a running back and that definitely took away a part of their offense they wanted to utilize.”
Briar Woods had averaged 41.8 points per contest over its previous 18 games, but had no answer for Horton. He recorded one sack and countless quarterback hurries.
Coker orally committed to Bowling Green this past summer, but Horton said he was able to use his speed to get around him and pressure McSorley.
“That motivated me going against him because I’ve gone against players just as good as him before,” said Horton, who has orally committed to Central Connecticut State. “I’ve gone to a lot of Division I college camps and that really prepared me. And our defensive coordinator Coach [Allan] Henshaw, he’s amazing at teaching us stuff.”
Horton said Henshaw’s game plan was the same as it always is: “Stop the run. Kill the quarterback.”
Horton said that’s the Wolverines’ motto this season, and it was never more apparent than on Friday. Outside of McSorley’s 63 yards scrambling and Capozzoli’s fumble recovery, the Falcons amassed just 39 yards on the ground.
The Falcons became one-dimensional in the second half and Horton wreaked havoc.
“There were probably a couple of holding penalties everybody thought should’ve been called, as well,” Mangano said. “He was a constant force. You just saw [No.] 85 constantly in the backfield. He had about three or four plays where he’s touching McSorley, ready to get him and he just gets rid of the ball. He caused them a lot of problems.”
Horton said once it was apparent the Falcons had trouble running, it became “fun” because he was able to unleash the pass-rush moves Henshaw has taught him.
It led to the Wolverines making a statement that it will be a formidable foe in Group 5A.
“I think we have the best defense in the state, and it all starts with our defensive coordinator,” Horton said. “We knew we could go in there and stop that offense. We just all had to play our game, and that’s what we did.”
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The Free Lance–Star’s high school football player of the week, as selected by our sports staff:
Week 1: A.J. Forbes, Massaponax RB
Week 2: Kendrick Kube, Eastern View RB
Week 3: Von Purvis, North Stafford RB
Week 4: Jae’won Horton, North Stafford DE