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Lions closer at home

In its first-ever home game, Hernando Christian falls once again, but this time by only three points.

EMILY NIPPS
Published October 9, 2004

BROOKSVILLE - It wasn't the perfect home debut the Lions dreamed of, but they'll take it.

In Hernando Christian's first home game ever, Clearwater Calvary Christian beat the Lions 9-6. It was the closest the Lions have ever been to winning. Their first four games were lost in blowouts.

"It wasn't 62-0, that's all I can tell you," said Steve Johnson, coach of the first-year program. "The kids are actually getting it. They're sticking with their blocks, they're bumping and running. ... Used to be, you'd tell the kids to bump and run, and they'd look at you like you're stupid."

The Lions (0-5) and the Warriors spent most of the first half grappling at midfield until the Warriors got within field goal range as time ran out in the half.

Calvary Christian kicker/running back Jeremy Centner kicked a 26-yarder to put the Warriors up 3-0.

Although Calvary Christian (3-1) came back looking energized and explosive in the second half, most of its gains were wiped out, either by turnovers or penalties.

The Warriors' biggest play came on a punt return when Brian Horrach caught the ball at midfield and ran it in for a 51-yard touchdown.

Hernando Christian started battling back in the waning minutes when freshman Josh Dahmer caught a 33-yard pass from quarterback Stephen Johnson (8-of-20, two interceptions) and running back Ryan Walczak ripped off a 22-yard burst.

The Lions capped their progress with a 3-yard touchdown reception by Walczak.

Hoping for a break in the final minute, the Lions attempted an onside kick, but Calvary Christian recovered. Warriors quarterback David Penn (9-of-16, one interception) took a knee to close out the contest.

Calvary Christian coach Dave Compton said the Warriors have played only blowout games themselves this season, having won their last two 55-0 and 47-0, so playing a close game against the Lions was a welcome change.

"We needed a game like this," Compton said. "I don't know if there was a better team tonight. It could have gone either way."

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