After seeing his Fieldston football team turned into a MASH unit following its season-opening loss to Dalton — a game which saw him lose starters Jake Horowitz, Jake Diamond and Owen Schacht — head coach Gus Ornstein was concerned with what he’d have to work with for his Week 2 battle with neighborhood rival Horace Mann.
But Horowitz bounced back from his finger injury, ditto Diamond and Schacht from their hamstring and hip injuries. Together they all proved to be too much for Horace Mann to contain. Especially Horowitz.
The Eagles junior threw for one touchdown, caught a pass for another score, rushed for a third score, and picked up an onside kick and returned it for a fourth touchdown as the Eagles posted a 34-22 victory last Saturday. It was a performance that had Ornstein gushing after the game about his versatile star.
“He does everything,” the coach said of Horowitz. “He’s so explosive, is such a good athlete, and is fun to watch. I joke all the time that when he’s at quarterback he’s going to give me a heart attack. He’s out there running around like a maniac, but he makes unbelievable plays.
“But he’s also smart. I thought what he did on the onside kick was a really smart football play. It was brilliant.”
The “Jake Horowitz Show” began on the very first possession of the game, when Horowitz — playing quarterback — connected with Luke Hanson on a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 Eagles lead.
In the second quarter, this time as a receiver, Horowitz grabbed a pass from quarterback Stanley Ackerman, ran a few steps, spun around a Horace Mann defender, and sauntered into the end zone for a 28-yard scoring play.
After Horace Mann closed within 14-8 after a 1-yard touchdown run by Harry Winter, Horowitz was at it again. This time, back at quarterback, he scrambled 25 yards through the Lions’ defense and found pay dirt yet again for a 20-8 Eagles’ advantage.
Horowitz didn’t score Fieldston’s next touchdown, but he helped set it up with a 34-yard reception from Ackerman that put his team at the Lions’ 7-yard line. One play later, Schacht galloped those seven yards for a touchdown and a 27-8 lead.
“I haven’t had a game like this since I was in middle school in eighth grade,” Horowitz said, laughing.
But there was more to come.
After Horace Mann pulled within 27-14 on Winters’ second touchdown of the game midway through the fourth quarter, the Lions set up for an onside kick. But before the ball traveled the required 10 yards for the Lions to attempt a recovery, Horowitz jumped in, scooped it up, and ran untouched for his fourth touchdown, and a 34-14 Eagles’ lead.
“That TD on special teams at the end was kind of sick,” Horowitz said. “They kicked it, and it went eight yards, and no one was moving. Then I saw there was no one in front of me, so I thought, “Why don’t I just pick it up and run?’ It just kind of felt right.”
Horace Mann head coach Matt Russo could only smile and shake his head after the game.
“That kid killed us,” Russo said. “You’re not going to win many games when a kid like that scores in so many ways like he did. He played a great game.”
Horowitz enjoys jumping from position to position throughout the game. But he does have a favorite, even if it gives his coach bouts of agita.
“Our other quarterback (Ackerman) came back this week (from a separated shoulder), and he threw really well, so when he was in I went to halfback or receiver,” Horowitz said. “Wherever they need me I just go. But I do love playing QB, and I like scrambling around when I’m at QB.”
Ornstein couldn’t remember any other player having a game like the one Horowitz enjoyed last Saturday.
“Just an unbelievable game,” the longtime Fieldston said. “He goes 100 miles an hour with everything he does, and he sets the tone for us. A kickoff return, caught a touchdown, passed for one and ran for another. He’s your fantasy (football) leader this week.”
Horowitz appreciated Ornstein’s compliment. Well, sort of.
“I don’t play fantasy,” Horowitz said, laughing. “It just feels good to beat Horace Mann. Last year we kind of got crushed by them. So this year, to come out and beat them, was really great. We came out firing on all cylinders.
“I think we’re going to be really good this year if we all stay healthy. But we’re going to enjoy this one now.”