Excitement filled the stands at Hickman's LeMone field after a late fourth quarter touchdown gave the Kewpies their second lead of the game. But it didn't last long.
After a 38-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Fitch to tight end Tyler Sprigg made the score 35-28 with 2:13 left.
A miskick on the ensuing kickoff left the Fort Zumwalt West Jaguars with a first down on the Kewpies 47-yard line. The Jaguars took advantage of the error and scored a touchdown with 40 seconds left. A successful two point conversion gave Fort Zumwalt West (6-2) a 36-35 win over the Kewpies (5-3).
"We've been pretty good all year with it, and we just missed it," Hickman coach Jason Wright said.
Hickman trailed 21-7 at half time, and had zero first down conversions. The Kewpies made adjustments to shift the momentum, but four second-half touchdowns weren't enough to push the Kewpies past the Jaguars.
Injuries didn't help the Kewpies, who have struggled to stay healthy all season. At the start of the game, Hickman had 12 players ineligible on its roster. Several starters played through injuries Friday.
"Our guys are warriors," Wright said.
Junior running back Will Owens ran for 136 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Kewpies.
"I wanted to go out there and fight harder for my team," he said.
The Kewpies play two more district games, both of which they must win to advance further in state competition. "We need to practice harder and be more focused," Owens said.
The game was the first of three district games in the class six, district six series. Hickman plays its next game against Troy-Buchanan at 7 p.m. on Friday in Columbia.