MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

October 5, 2013

A romp for Hilldale

Hornets pull away early in win over Inola

If someone had some dinner menus, Hilldale’s starters could’ve placed their orders early Friday night.

Using only six offensive plays to build a 20-0 lead, the Hornets never looked back, rolling to a 69-7 homecoming victory over Inola at Hornet Stadium Friday night.

No dance, just a meal for most. Hilldale (4-1) did plenty of dancing on the Longhorns, building a 55-7 lead four minutes into the third quarter before giving way to the bench in this non-district affair. The Hornets finished with 512 yards of offense.

There were few concerns here Friday for the hosts. Two fumbles and two touchdowns called back on penalties on returns — Bradley Campbell’s 35-yard punt return and a 99-yard kickoff return, kept the outcome from being worse.

Campbell also lost a punt on a fumble. But he more than made up for that miscue with touchdown receptions of 45 (on a fourth-and-1 play) and 41 yards in the second quarter — and a huge assist on a third.

With under a minute to play in the first half, from the Inola 41, Hornets quarterback Chandler Puckett found Campbell tied up with a defender in coverage at about the 26. Campbell managed to wrest control for a lateral to Hunter Woods and with a blind flip, Woods grabbed it and took it the remaining distance for a 49-7 lead.

“It was a designed play,” Campbell said. “I went up and grabbed it, (the defender) tried to get his hands on me. I turned and I knew Hunter was there with my peripherals and I tossed it over my shoulder. He did the rest.”

Said Woods: “We’d run it in practice and I didn’t expect it to be called, honestly, but it played out like it was supposed to.”

Campbell finished with five catches for 155 yards. Woods, who three weeks ago entered when running back Seth Reheard went down with an ankle injury, had his third consecutive 100-yard rushing night with 134 yards on 8 carries. He scored four times, three on rushes.

Puckett was 8-of-15 for 221 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half. He scored another on a 58-yard run.

“We had a good idea what they were going to give us and took advantage of it,” Puckett said. “They were playing cover 3 for the most part and we executed against it. The guys got open and I found them.”

All in all, enough to leave head coach Chad Kirkhart happy.

“I mean, the fumbles were kids trying to get extra yardage. I was more bothered with the block in the back penalties that cost us two scores. Kids playing hard, those things happen sometimes,” he said.

Dakota Holmes had an interception and Dylan Duncan a fumble recovery. Inola (2-3), which punted eight times in the first half, wound up with three first downs on the night and 92 total yards.

“The defense did great,” said Woods, who also went at linebacker. “I won’t say that for me. I had a couple misreads I’d like to have back but overall, the defense had its best game.”

Puckett’s backup behind center, sophomore Mitchell Croftcheck, guided Hilldale to two fourth-quarter touchdowns, scoring on both from 7 and 12 yards away. Another sophomore, Devin Cochran, assisted on those drives with some nice running and finished  with 57 yards on 13 carries.

Meanwhile, the starters were strategizing.

“Talking about where we were going to eat,” Campbell said.

And begin to think about the next two road games that could well define Hilldale’s destiny as they return to District 3A-7 action at 1-0 after the win against Jay last week.

The Hornets go to Lincoln Christian next week then Locust Grove the following week. Lincoln (3-2, 1-0) beat Jay 38-21 and Locust Grove (5-0, 2-0), coached by ex-Muskogee High coach Matt Hennesy, rolled 70-14 against Westville.

“I feel really good about things. I think we can do a lot more damage than we did last year,” Campbell said. “Bonding-wise the seniors are all cool with each other and since we do take up a lot of the roster (all but two starting spots), I think we’re where we need to be.”

“It’s kind of the same boat we were in last year,” Kirkhart said. “Every district game is big but no doubt those two are big games.”

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