With quarterback Sean Mitchell out due to undisclosed reasons and running back Lamonte Belshe not playing because of a shoulder injury, Van Horn had to completely revamp its offense.
That’s why the Falcons used the Wildcat formation for the majority of Friday’s Crossroads Conference contest against University Academy. They rotated wide receivers Demarcus Penson and Arlandes Mitchell between taking snaps in the shotgun and pistol formation.
It was a strategy that nearly netted Van Horn a win, but a late touchdown with 3:47 left and defensive stand allowed the Gryphons to squeak by with a 42-41 win at William Chrisman High School’s Norman James Field.
“The offense was amazing tonight,” Gryphons coach Ryan Heffley said. “We ran the ball well and sprinkled in the pass.
“I am really proud of my team. This was our best win of the season and our best win in awhile.”
The Gryphons (3-5) went into halftime up 36-35, but fell behind for the first time when Van Horn sophomore wide receiver Demetrius Wilson scored on a 14-yard run on a jet sweep on third-and-13 to put the Falcons ahead. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and Van Horn led 41-36 with 10:37 left.
In the second half, the Van Horn defense got two turnovers on downs and forced University Academy to punt it once after the Gryphons scored on all but one possession in the first half. However, the Falcons (4-4) couldn’t stop them on their fourth drive of the second half.