Bonny Eagle’s Will Horton is a commanding presence on the football field and the offensive guard and defensive lineman is a cog to what the Scots want to accomplish in 2019. (ED DEXTER PHOTOGRAPHY)

Will Horton played half of last season on a torn ACL and was still named to the SMAA All-Conference First Team. 

The Bonny Eagle High senior, who plays offensive guard and on the defensive line, was declared 100 percent healthy a week before camp opened in August, and that’s bad news for the rest of Class A. 

“I’m ready to go,” Horton said. “I’m ready to get after it and hopefully kill it this year all the way around.” 

Standing more than 6 feet tall and weighing almost 250 pounds, Horton is a commanding presence even among some of the most gifted athletes. His respectful, calm demeanor on the sidelines transforms into a competitive tenacity as soon as he steps onto the field. His voice carries authority and whether he is leading the whole team in warm-ups or setting the example in position drills, his teammates’ respect is obvious. 

“Will has really been our leader, especially our emotional leader, for the past couple of years,” said Bonny Eagle head coach Kevin Cooper. “Seeing him go from being a guy who was sort of unsure of himself (as an underclassman) … to being a true leader with this team has been pretty cool to watch.” 

Four games into last season, in a win over Massabesic, Horton tore his right ACL on the last play before halftime. He broke through the Mustangs offensive line in an attempt to sack the quarterback but the side of Horton’s knee was inadvertently kicked during the play. 

Horton could tell something wasn’t right, he said, but “it actually didn’t really hurt too bad.” He missed the next game, a win over Deering, due to swelling from the injury, but he was back on the line the following week. 

“I knew I could get through the season so I kept playing on it. I had to get the job done and finish off strong,” Horton said. “If that’s what it took, then that’s what it took.” 

While Horton finished the year, he was noticeably less effective on game day, said Cooper. The Scots as a team had trouble matching up with their more physical opponents down the stretch. Bonny Eagle’s season ended in 61-23 loss to Scarborough in a regional semifinal. 

Horton had surgery on his knee in December and has undergone physical training since. The desire to be fully healthy for the first practice and to be able to compete in every game motivated him throughout rehab. The three-year starter hopes to play at the next level and as a focal point in the Scots’ offensive and defensive gameplans, he will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his talents. 

“I think every type of honor given to linemen, he will be given consideration,” Cooper said. “He’s as tough as they come … Any coach will tell you how important the offensive line is. If they can set (the) tone, then … the rest of your team falls behind.” 

Cooper will rely on Horton and the rest of a strong offensive line to pave the way for the Scots high-powered spread attack. Running back Will Whyte, a semifinalist for last year’s Fitzpatrick Trophy, has graduated, but Cooper is confident the Scots can be just as dangerous this season. 

With leaders like Horton ready to shoulder any responsibilities thrown their way, that’s bad news for the rest of Class A. 

“Our goal is to win a state championship. It is that every year, but I think the general feeling amongst our guys is that we have a very good chance of competing for that and being in the conversation,” Cooper said. “We think we can win a state championship and if that doesn’t happen, we will be a little disappointed.” 

 

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