Horton says who?
Horton says whatever he wants — just ask Ward Melville.
Longwood’s two-way senior star Latrell Horton was equally impressive on both sides of the ball in Friday night’s 35-19 win over Ward Melville before a packed house at Longwood of more than 1,300 in a Suffolk Division I football game.
Horton authored his own Dr. Seuss script Friday night. He carried 22 times for 189 yards, including touchdown runs of 2, 61 and 2. His 61-yard run in the second quarter was a romp of power and grace. The 5-11, 240-pound back came around right end, worked his way through the initial point of contact, ran over one defender, hurdled another at midfield and outran the speedy Patriots secondary for the score. It was one for the highlight reel.
“He punishes defenders who get in his way,” said Longwood coach Jeff Cipp. “He runs at people, not away from them. He’s a pure power guy.”
Horton may have been more impressive on the defensive side of the ball where he freelanced at the middle linebacker position and was sent after Ward Melville quarterback Wesley Manning on countless blitz packages. He finished with 10 tackles, including four for a loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
“I just love hitting people and running them over,” Horton said. “Defenses underestimate my speed because of my size and that fuels me.”
Ward Melville (1-1) got off to a great start after Dom Pryor returned the opening kickoff 65 yards to the Longwood 13. The Patriots settled for a 20-yard Joe LaRosa field goal and a 3-0 lead with 9:53 left in the first quarter.
It was short-lived. Longwood (2-0) responded with a five- play, 52-yard drive capped by Jordan Harris’ 6-yard scoring run. Midjerry Paul added the kick to make it 7-3 with 7:08 left in the quarter. The Lions used a 45-yard run by halfback Maleik Bonner to set up the score. It was a sign of things to come as Longwood would amass 371 yards on the ground.
On the ensuing kickoff, Longwood’s Mike Pray recovered a fumble at the Patriots 2 yard line, setting up Horton’s 2-yard scoring run for a 13-3 lead.
“The special teams were going to play a big role in this one and we didn’t know what to expect,” Cipp said. “They’re a dangerous team on specials. That was a big turnover.”
Halfback Jalen Hunter bolted up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown run as Longwood ran off to a 21-3 first quarter lead.
Ward Melville climbed within 21-10 when quarterback Wesley Manning hit Corpac for a13-yard touchdown pass with 56 seconds left in the half.
But the second half belonged to Horton. He opened the third quarter with the 61-yard TD run and halted two Patriots drives with big tackles for a loss.
On one, he blitzed through the middle of the Ward Melville line and ran down Manning for an 11-yard loss. He emerged with Manning’s hip towel draped over his shoulder like it was a prize.
“All in a day’s work,” Horton said. “Today was a good day for Longwood football.”
Horton said who!