LIBERTY – For the second year in a row the Hickman football team lost its season opener to Liberty, Friday night falling 42-6 to the Blue Jays at packed Norris Patterson Field at William Jewell College.
The Liberty running game, particularly Blue Jays senior running back Garrett White, moved up and down the field with ease against on an overmatched Kewpies defense. White finished with 14 carries for 234 yards and three touchdowns, part of a 400-yard night on the ground for Liberty, the No. 5-ranked Class 6A team in the state entering the game.
“Bottom line is, we’ve got to get better on both sides of the ball,” Hickman coach Jason Wright said after the game. “We knew they were pretty good as far as the run game, but they didn’t show us anything we didn’t expect. We just got manhandled up front.”
Hickman was forced into a pass heavy offense after falling behind by two touchdowns going into halftime. Although he was able to gain 65 yards on the ground, mostly by scrambling, Kewpies quarterback Matt Herman’s passes were often rushed and fell just out of reach of their intended targets.
“He played pretty good - scrambling for his life at times - and no turnovers,” Wright said of the Kewpies leader on offense. “There was only a couple of balls that he wishes that he had back.”
Liberty broke the game open when, after the Kewpies were unable to capitalize on Blue Jay turnovers, White ripped off a pair of touchdown runs in the second quarter. Both went for more than 60 yards. From that point on the dejected Kewpies were unable to mount much resistance.
After another touchdown run by White in the third quarter, this one for 36 yards, Liberty began to pour it on. In all, four Blue Jays reached the end zone.
“We’ve just got to keep our heads up and put this behind us. We played pretty well in the first half, but just didn’t go all out like we hoped to,” captain LB/RB Josh Williams said. ““We’ve got too much talent for this to happen. It won’t happen anymore.”
Hickman will look to regroup when they host Vashon at 6:30 p.m. next Friday night.