COLUMBIA — It took until the fourth quarter, but Hickman senior running back Deven Larry finally broke the big one.
Kyle Coleman had just orchestrated Holt’s first scoring drive of the game, cutting Hickman’s lead to 12-7.
That’s when the Kewpies turned to Larry, who up to that point had been held in check by sloppy conditions and Holt’s swarming defense. When the ball was snapped, Larry saw the biggest opening Holt had given him all night.
Sixty-five yards later, Hickman’s lead was 18-7.
“In this game you’ve got to run the football, especially with these conditions,” Hickman coach Arnel Monroe said. “We found a crease and just fell into it.”
The wet conditions made it tough on both offenses. Steady rain throughout the game forced botched snaps, dropped passes and a lack of offensive output for both sides.
The Kewpies, however, didn’t let the conditions get the better of them. They stayed focused on the running game and taking care of the football.
“We preached it,” Monroe said. “That comes with focus. When you’re playing in the elements, you have to block that out. Our kids were able to focus.”
On the other side of the field, Holt turned the ball over five times.
Hickman senior cornerback Eric Wise took advantage of Holt’s mistakes, picking off two passes, one of which he ran back for a touchdown.
“Everybody’s going to make mistakes; they’re human,” Wise said. “Mistakes were made, and we took advantage and were able to build off that.”
Hickman's defensive prowess took the pressure off their offense long enough to figure out a way to score.
“They were terrific,” junior quarterback Mason Murray said. “They gave us a lot of momentum.”
The win marked Hickman's first home-opening victory under their second-year coach.
“Tonight it feels real good to get a win for Hickman,” Wise said. "These fans have been supporting us since the beginning. I look forward to playing with these guys all year and building off this.”
Monroe said he was proud of his team for battling through a tough opponent.
“They really cut us short on what we wanted to do and made it a heavyweight fight,” he said.
Soaked in rain and exhausted from the pressure, Monroe couldn’t help but crack a smile at the mention of his team’s undefeated record.
“2-0 Kewpies,” he said. “It feels real good.”
The Kewpies will look to stay unbeaten when they take on Smith-Cotton High School on Friday night at their home field.