The opening seven minutes of the Missouri Class 6 high school football state championship game Saturday provided all the early indications of a blowout. And the Rockhurst Hawklets were staring at the wrong end.
That’s all the time it took for Christian Brothers College to build a double-digit lead against the Hawklets. CBC marched down the field on consecutive scoring drives, and it forced Rockhurst into a three-and-out on the Hawklets’ only offensive possession.
The rout, it appeared, was on.
“Their speed caught us off guard,” Rockhurst senior linebacker Luke Ritter said. “They hit us in the face.”
But just as the Hawklets had done most of the season — and certainly during their postseason run — they fought back. And then some.
Rockhurst actually took a seven-point lead late in the third quarter before CBC escaped with a 31-24 victory inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Moments after the loss, the Hawklets were left describing how the season ended in disappointment — how they came so close to capturing the 10th state championship in program history.
But Rockhurst coach Tony Severino was equally quick to point out his satisfaction in making the game competitive after it initially looked bleak.
“This whole group is special,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, they are a bunch of fighters.
“These kids have just given you everything they have. They’ve just been so much fun to be around all year.”
It didn’t take the Hawklets long to show that fight, either.
They were drilled in the second game of the season, a 40-14 loss to Webb City, which won the Missouri Class 4 state title on Saturday.
Rockhurst, 12-2, responded to its only regular season loss with 11 straight victories before Saturday’s loss to CBC.
“It was an early wake-up call,” Ritter said. “We refocused ourselves. Overall, it helped us out the rest of the year.
“It’s a testament to our guys, our coaches (and) our teammates to respond to adversity. We always wanted to get better.”