MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

August 24, 2013

Hornets’ O shines

Hilldale’s passing game picked up where it left off in a three-round playoff run in 2012.

The Hornets’ running game found its way around too, making for two solid ground efforts in Friday’s Hilldale-Haskell scrimmage at Hornet Field.

Chandler Puckett found his favorite target from 2012, Bradley Campbell, on a 38-yard strike on the third play of the first 10-play-and-out drive for the Hornets. On the final play of the session, the two connected for 12 yards and a score.

On their second 10-play  series, the two went to work on a 44-yard catch to the 16, setting up touchdown run from that point by Hunter Woods. Puckett himself kept for 13 yards and another score before the ball reverted back to the Haymakers.

Then Seth Reheard, the new starter at tailback for Hilldale, broke loose on a 60-yard run on the third 10-play session. Reheard had a 26-yard carry earlier in the scrimmage and finished with 102 yards.

Puckett was 10-of-16 for 163 yards. Campbell had five catches for 119 yards.

“We came into this, I think, wanting to throw and thought we did that fairly effectively at times and at the end, really thought we ran the ball well,” Hilldale head coach Chad Kirkhart said. “A lot of it when you go 10 plays like we did, it’s not down and distance stuff, it’s just working on things.

“But we saw a lot of good things. We saw a lot of effort and we’ve told the kids all along, that’s the key. If you give good effort, good things will happen.”

Haskell pounded its running game at the Hornets, which bent but didn’t break until quarterback Alex Wheeland spun loose on a 55-yard keeper. Jordan Presley and Trey Lang combined at tailback and moved the ball at times, Presley finishing with 84 yards.

Adding a 60-run from the alternating JV scrimmage, Lang had 91 yards.

Hilldale, however, had the hits, and the stops, at the right times.

Jake Adams had two of those for losses as the inside linebacker showed he was fully back from a torn ACL suffered  in week 10 a year ago. Tyler Gober, the 245-pound sophomore who is taking over at nose guard, also had a tackle for lost yardage.

Cornerback Kaden Weaver, who is battling for a starting spot, along with safety Dylan Duncan and outside linebacker Hunter Woods had pass breakups off the arm of Wheeland.

“Jake played really well coming off his injury. That was encouraging,” Kirkhart said, adding he’ll look at film to evaluate the competition for the one cornerback spot and what happened on the right side of the offensive line, all vacated spots in 2012.

Two other scores came on set-ups from each other’s 5-yard line. Both teams scored in that situation, Presley scored on the first play from scrimmage, and Puckett found Justin Sanders on Hilldale’s first play for a score.

“We need to get a little more creative in the secondary, although we knew they had what they had and it’s something that honestly we won’t see a  lot of this season,” said Haskell head coach Greg Wilson in regard to the Hilldale passing game.

“But our kids played hard. That’s a team that went three rounds in the 3A playoffs last year and I saw that our kids won’t back down. We wore down, but that’s something we’ve still got to do a better job of on the conditioning side. We’re just going to have to work ’em and work ’em and work ’em to get there.

“I told them standing here a while ago that if you walked off a better player than you were when you walked on, then the scrimmage worked. Because I’ve got kids who mentally want to be better players.”

Both teams had their share of shoving matches as the scrimmage heated up to match the hot, humid night.

“We had some fireworks and that’s going to happen,” Wilson said. “Kids have been hitting each other, and in our case, some going brother against brother. They’re kind of tired of doing that.”

Hilldale is at Wagoner with Tahlequah on Thursday and Haskell is at Warner with Gore, also on Thursday, in the final preseason tuneups. The Hornets open in two weeks at home against Stigler while Haskell will go to Colcord.

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