Hickman coach Greg Nesbitt knows why his team lost Friday night.
“Turnovers,” Nesbitt said. “Period.”
The Hickman Kewpies lost 43-27 to the Blue Springs Wildcats on Friday night at Hickman field. The Kewpies failed to secure the ball on offense, committing seven turnovers, ultimately costing them the game.
“We are young, I keep saying that, but gosh we are,” Hickman coach Greg Nesbitt said. “I think Blake Tekotte played extremely well, but the fact of the matter is that he made only his third varsity start. Sometimes kids are their own worst enemy and the pressure of a high-profile ball game wouldn’t let us get into a relaxed state.”
The Kewpies (2-1) fell behind early after the Wildcats (3-0) scored on a 16-play, 64-yard opening drive lasting 7:47. Runningback Chris Benham scored on a one-yard run, putting the Wildcats up seven.
Hickman’s offense, led by quarterback Tekotte, could not solve the Wildcats pass rush and the Kewpies had to punt on the following possession. The snap on the punt, however, went over Tekotte’s head, forcing him to scramble to get the ball out of the end zone and to the 12-yard line. The Wildcats capitalized with a 25-yard field goal from Marcelo Velazquez.
The troubles for Tekotte continued on the next drive when he fumbled on the second play of the second quarter. Again, the Wildcats took advantage of the Kewpies’ mistake. Benham rushed for another touchdown, this one from four yards out to make the score 16-0.
“You can’t win a ball game against hardly anybody if you turn over the ball,” Tekotte said.
The Kewpies’ offensive line struggled against the Wildcat defense, as the Wildcats constantly forced Tekotte to throw the ball quickly, off balance, and often sooner than he wanted to.
“Right now we have offensive line problems,” Nesbitt said. “That is not debatable. We have got to go back to the drawing board and make sure we have the best players out there, we’ve got to coach them and we’ve got to get better.”
The Wildcat defense continued to pressure Tekotte, and with 8:21 left in the second quarter Zac Cunningham intercepted Tekotte’s pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to make the score 23-0.
Throughout the first half Hickman was unable to get anything done on offense, but its special teams would keep it in the game. After another Hickman drive stalled, the punt was muffed and Hickman recovered on the Wildcats’ 30-yard line. Two plays later, Tekotte found tight end Scottie Guthrie in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Guthrie’s reception was his fifth touchdown catch of the season and pulled the score to 23-7 before halftime.
If the Kewpies had gained momentum before halftime, it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to take it right back. On the first play of the second half, Benham broke free and ran 74 yards for a touchdown and a 29-7 lead.
Hickman’s offense continued to sputter, and Kyle Crandall intercepted another Tekotte pass. The Kewpies defense would not let up, however, forcing a three and out. Another big special teams play came from Mike Roper to block the punt and Cedric Alvis picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a score.
“The ball was right there,” Alvis said. “Why not pick it up and score?”
Although the Kewpies had pulled within two scores, the offense still struggled to hold on to the football, let alone score. The Kewpies turned the ball over on the 3-yard line, leading to a two-yard touchdown by Dean Stinson to make the score 36-14.
The Kewpies turned the ball over a total of seven times. Tekotte threw three interceptions and fumbled once, but says his team will learn from its mistakes.
“We had a lot of positives, Tekotte said. “So, we are going to take this and keep going on, and hopefully see this team later on in the season.”