By Kenneth Schott
Amassing 473 rushing yards with five touchdowns on a rainy Friday night, East Hickman’s running game was more than host Zion Christian could handle in an eventual 43-21 decision.
The loss, in the final regular-season game at Holcomb Field for the host Eagles, dropped their record to 4-5. East Hickman improved to 6-3, .
East Hickman’s running attack confounded Zion Christian all game. East Hickman would line up in the I formation and with double backs. They would run up the middle or run the counter trap by faking the handoff up the middle to the first back and handing it off to the second back to go the opposite direction. East Hickman junior quarterback Kyle England ran quarterback draws several times as well.
“We were outmanned,” Zion coach Brad Lowery said. “We gave up unbelievable weight. Our kids were getting manhandled on the line of scrimmage and getting pushed out of position. They just leaned on us. Our kids fought hard. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect them to do, they’re just bigger than us.”
East Hickman scored on its first possession with very little resistance. The visitors had an eight-yard scoring drive after Zion Christian went three-and-out on its first possession, going 60 yards on the ground to make it 6-0 (the extra point was missed).
After Zion Christian had another three-and-out and a 19-yard punt gave East Hickman the ball at the Zion 44, the visitors went to the air in two passing plays to get in the end zone and make it 12-0.
The host Eagles’ offense came alive on their third possession. Luke Perko connected on a deep pass to Davis Duffy for a 40-yard touchdown to cut the gap to 12-7.
But again the East Hickman running attack was too much for Zion Christian. East Hickman went 70 yards in seven plays, all on the ground, to score and make it 19-7.
The host Eagles scored midway through the second quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by Perko, and converted the two-point conversion, to make it 19-15. And Zion Christian’s defense stepped up and stopped East Hickman’s lone second-quarter possession. After the visitors drove from their 20 to the Zion Christian 14, the host Eagles stopped East Hickman when the visitors went for it on fourth-and-4.
“Our kids fought hard, I can’t fault them,” said Lowery. “We knew in the second half they would just run the ball and we wouldn’t have many possessions, so we had to start throwing the ball.”
East Hickman did exactly that in the second half, keeping the ball on the ground, during a driving rainstorm. The visitors went 60 yards in eight running plays to start the third quarter, making it 25-15 after a bad snap on the wet ground on the extra point attempt.
The host Eagles went three and out and gave the ball back to East Hickman with 5:29 left in the third quarter. The visitors kept it on the ground and ran out the rest of the third quarter.
The first play of the fourth quarter was a field goal by East Hickman kicker Mason Gionakas, making it 28-15.
Zion Christian scored on a 37-yard pass from Perko to Max Brown with 8:10 remaining.
East Hickman added two more rushing touchdowns in the final minutes.
East Hickman 43, Zion Chr. 21
at Holcomb Field
EH 19 0 6 18 -– 43
ZC 7 8 0 6 -– 21
|EH – Kyle England 16 run (7:12), kick failed|
|EH – Malik Cook 16 pass from England (5:33), kick failed|
|ZC – Davis Duffy 40 pass from Luke Perko (4:18), Wesley Riggins kick|
|EH – England 2 run (0:57), Mason Gianokas kick|
|ZC – Perko 3 run (7:25), Sam Sullivan pass from Perko|
|EH – Cook 9 run (7:39), kick failed|
|EH – Gianokas 28 field goal, 11:10|
|ZC – Max Brown 37 pass from Perko (8:10), kick failed|
|EH – Cooper Harris 45 run (4:58), David Ward run|
|EH – Ward 10 run (2:25), Gianokas kick|
|East Hickman – Malik Cook 13-149, David Ward 11-99, Cooper Harris 9-90, Zanaldo Morales 7-83, Kyle England 9-50, Robert Richardson 2-7, Jordan Presley 2-(-5).|
|Zion Christian – Luke Perko 9-60, Dillan Runions 1-9, Sam Duffy 3-(-3).|
|East Hickman – Kyle England 2-7-1-45.|
|Zion Christian – Luke Perko 11-21-1-158|
|East Hickman – Ethan Irwin 1-29, Malik Cook 1-16.|
|Zion Christian – Davis Duffy 6-68, Max Brown 2-53, Dillan Runions 1-22, Wesley Riggins 1-16, Cannon Cofran 1-(-1).|