It was hard to find much fault in Hilldale’s first-half performance at home Friday night.
The Hornets posted 45 first-half points and coupled with some solid defense and special teams, smashed Stilwell in short order, winning 52-6.
How dominant were they in going to 5-1 overall, 2-1 in District 4A-4?
In the first half, almost perfect.
In that span, Hilldale had an 18-1 edge in first downs. Its 302 yards were three times that of the Indians (1-5, 0-3), who had 101 yards, but 74 of those came on a touchdown pass from Chase Stephens to Geremiah Noisewater that got Stilwell as close as they would be outside of the opening score, at 7-6 after a missed PAT.
Eric Virgil had 117 yards rushing on 17 carries, ran for a touchdown and caught another from Johnnie Durossette, who just missed his only pass of the night one play before Virgil’s touchdown when he was off-target to Brayson Lawson on a hitch route near the goal line. Otherwise, the junior was 7 of 8 for 130 yards and three TD passes, the other two coming on 6-foot-3 sophomore Logan Harper’s 38-yarder on a jump ball in double coverage in the end zone, and Colby Thompson from 37 yards.
“Pretty good game overall,” Durossette said. “We had good matchups and we took them. When you got guys 6-4 and their corners are 5-5, that helps.”
Or, in that vicinity.
Special teams had a part as well. On the second of six three-and-outs for the Indians in the half, Walker broke through and blocked a punt into the end zone, where he chased it down for what was at that point a 21-6 advantage.
The defensive effort came with two starting inside linebackers, Jaden McWilliams and Michael Oeser, among a cluster of Hornets in quarantine. “Caynen David, Rylan Nail and Aden Jenkins played their butts off all week while rotating there. Proud of all of them,” said Hilldale coach David Blevins of the sophomore, junior and sophomore, respectively.
The Hornets’ scoring drives ranged from five to seven plays on all but Walker’s punt recovery and a 27-yard field goal by Jaxson Whittiker, on a drive that started at the Hilldale 8 late in the first quarter. That made it 31-6.
Coming out to start the third quarter up 45-6, it took one offensive play to score what would be the final touchdown of the contest. Virgil took the handoff and danced through defenders, cutting his way upfield for 82 yards and a score. That gave him 199 yards on 18 carries for the night.
“Good way to celebrate my birthday this weekend,” Virgil said, turning 16 on Monday.
Penalties plagued Hilldale from doing much else on offense in the second half. All told, the Hornets were flagged 12 times for 109 yards.
“That was about as good an offensive night as we’ve had,” Blevins said. “Our receivers had good nights but they also blocked well. Everyone blocked to the whistle.”
Stilwell drove into Hilldale territory three times. David and cornerback Isom Smith made fourth-downs tops on two of them. With reserves on the field for the third, defensive end David Paulson made the final stop inside the 10.
Whittiker, meanwhile, left the field with a 52.6 yard average on punts. A good 20-yard roll on the second netted him 68 yards on that effort.
Hilldale is at Muldrow next Thursday as fall break bumps up most games a day.
“We’re getting better,” Blevins said. “When you’re starting six sophomores, they pick it up as the season goes on.”
HILLDALE 52, STILWELL 6
Hil—Johnnie Durossette 1 run (Jaxson Whittiker kick), 8:39.
Sti— Geremiah Noisewater 74 pass from Chase Stephens (kick failed), 7:18.
Hil—Eric Virgil 2 run (Whittiker kick), 6:44.
Hil— Dylan Walker recovered blocked punt in end zone (Whittiker kick), 5:17.
Hil —Logan Harper 38 pass from Durossette (Whittiker kick), 1:33.
Hil — Whittiker 27 FG, 7:12.
Hil — Colby Thompson 37 pass from Durossette (Whittiker kick), 4:52.
Hil — Virgil 16 pass from Durossette (Whittiker kick), 1:23.
Hil — Virgil 82 run (Whittiker kick), 11:45.
Rushes-Yards 48-138 33-278
Passing Yards 106 130
Punts-Avg. 5-32.6 2-52.5
Rushing: Sti, Adam Phillips 8-40. Hil, Virgil, 18-199 (2 TD).
Passing: Sti, Stephens 4-12-106 (TD). Hil, Durossette 7-9-130 (3 TD).
Receiving: Sti, Noisewater 3-107 (TD). Hil, Thompson, 2-51, Harper 3-46 (TD).