DACULA — After Hebron Christian suffered through a 1-9 record in 2012, first-year head coach Kevin Shaffer wanted to instill a new culture in the program. Through two games this season, the young Lions appear to be heeding the lesson.
Connor Holliday connected with Jacob Harper for three touchdowns as Hebron (2-0) cruised to a 36-20 victory over Cross Keys (0-2) Friday night in Dacula.
“We strive for excellence in everything we do,” said Shaffer. “That includes games, practices and during school as well. We’re continuing to raise the bar every week.”
Hebron raised the bar ear early, seizing the lead on the fourth play from scrimmage on a 23-yard TD pass from Holliday to Matthew Glisson and 7-0 lead with just over a minute elapsed.
After Cross Keys cornerback Samuel McDade returned an interception 26-yards for a TD to cut the lead to 7-6, Holliday and Harper began to demonstrate their chemistry. Facing fourth-and-13, Holliday found Harper streaking behind coverage for a 41-yard TD and 15-6 lead. Harper again burned press coverage with a 28-yard TD reception in the second quarter and 23-6 Lions halftime lead.
“We didn’t necessarily plan that as we went into the game,” said Shaffer, “but as soon as we saw those corners manned up it’s hard to get the short stuff. It’s easier to run right by them. So we said we’re going to keep throwing it until they make an adjustment, and I don’t think they ever did.”
Hebron continued to exploit the Indians secondary in the second half. After McDade carved the lead to 23-12 on a 50-yard TD run, Harper, who finished with five receptions for 147 yards, scorched the Indians with his third TD of the game on a 29-yard TD catch to extend the lead to 29-12.
Holliday, who finished 16-for-30 for 293 yards with five TDs, lobbed an 8-yard pass to Trey Selmen in the fourth quarter for his final TD of the evening.
“At the end of the day a win is a win, we’re 2-0 and we feel great about that, but in a game like this I feel disappointment,” said Shaffer. “The bar is so much higher, and our expectations are so much higher. There was so much more we should have done.”
Hebron Christian 36, Cross Keys 20
Cross Keys 15 8 6 7 — 36
Hebron Christian 6 0 6 8 — 20
Hebron: Matthew Glisson 23 pass from Connor Holliday (Jacob Harper kick) 10:51
Cross Keys: Samuel McDade 26 Int ret (PAT failed) 5:18
Hebron: Harper 41 pass from Holliday (Trey Selmen 2-pt pass from Brice) 3:08
Hebron: Harper 28 pass from Holliday (Matthew Glisson 2-pt pass from Holliday) 4:12
Cross Keys: McDade 50 run (2-pt conversion failed) 11:32
Hebron: Harper 29 pass from Holliday (kick failed) 5:33
Hebron: Selmen 8 pass from Holliday (Harper kick) 8:18
Cross Keys: McDade 3 pass from Devonte Davis (Patrick Huff 2-pt run) 3:03