Saturday was a perfect day for football. There was perfect weather, a perfectly cloudless blue sky, and two rivals with perfect records, Hogan Prep and Van Horn.
By TODD ENGLE
Special to The Star
The play, however, fell short of perfection. The teams traded turnovers for much of the game, but Hogan Prep eventually found its footing and ran away with a 28-0 victory on its home field.
The Rams, 7-0, scored on their first drive of the game, but neither they nor Van Horn could hold on to the football long enough to do anything with it for the rest of the half.
That trend seemed destined to continue in the third quarter. Hogan Prep and Van Horn, 6-1, both lost fumbles on their opening drives of the second half.
Thats when the Rams decided to keep things very simple. They kept the ball on the ground, partly because it was effective and partly because of three interceptions in five first-half pass attempts.
Kewaun Riley finished an 87-yard yard drive with a 21-yard run that put the Rams up 14-0 late in the third quarter.
Hogan Prep chewed up half of the fourth quarter with an 88-yard scoring drive, capped by Martinez Lewis 9-yard run. Chriselle Lang put the game away with a 58-yard touchdown run in the final minutes.
I guess you can say it was a little frustrating, but at halftime we got our players together, coaches talked to us and we fixed it, Lang said. It felt so good. It doesnt matter what the outcome is unless we got the W. Thats all that matters.
Hogan Prep spread the workload among six ball carriers, with quarterback Isaih Baylis leading the way with 86 yards in 12 attempts. Riley had 73 yards, and Lang finished with 67.
As the second half got going, the adjustments we made at halftime kind of showed and the kids started executing those adjustments, and it just makes our job easier when the kids do what they do, Hogan coach Phil Lascuola said. We saw where we could attack, we put some blocking adjustments in there and we got some big runs and some ball control.
Hogan Prep had six turnovers, but none after the opening drive of the third quarter. Van Horns seven turnovers including six lost fumbles were spread evenly throughout the game. At least three of those fumbles came off muffed snaps or handoffs.
I felt like they were able to make some things happen offensively despite their turnovers, and that was the difference, Falcons coach Jeff Tolbert said. They turned the ball over some, but they were in a bit of a flow offensively. We were floundering almost the entire game, really. Especially on offense.
Hogan Prep wasnt perfect, but it will take its perfect record and move on to the next game.
Were the better 6-0 team. Matter of fact, were the better 7-0 team, Hogan Prep lineman Dennis Cooper said. It felt good stopping them.