Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt said he knows there was one reason his team lost Friday night.
“Turnovers,” Nesbitt said. “Period.”
The Hickman Kewpies lost 43-27 to the No. 1 Blue Springs Wildcats at Hickman High. The Kewpies had three interceptions, two fumbles and turned the ball over on downs twice. This inability to protect the football took Hickman out of the game early as Blue Springs capitalized and led 23-0 in the middle of the second quarter.
Hickman fell to 2-1, and Blues Springs improved to 3-0.
“We are young; I keep saying that, but gosh we are,” Nesbitt said. “I think (quarterback) Blake Tekotte played extremely well, but the fact of the matter is that he made his third varsity start tonight. 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.”
On the Kewpies’ first five possessions, they punted, fumbled, threw an interception, botched a punt and turned the ball over on downs. Blue Springs used the early turnovers to build a lead Hickman couldn’t catch.
“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, for the Wildcats’ blitz 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 Wildcats sacked ekotte three times, leading to a poor completion percentage. Tekotte finished 12-of-25 for 111 yards and three interceptions.
“On drop back passes, it was hard to look down the field,” Tekotte said. “They were in always in my face. The line had a couple busts.”
Throughout the first half, Hickman was unable to get anything done on offense, but its special teams kept it in the game. After another Hickman drive stalled, the punt was muffed and Hickman recovered on the Wildcats’ 30.
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 made it 23-7 before halftime.
“We can play with them,” Tekotte said. “If you eliminate some of those turnovers, maybe only have two a game, we are right in that game. We had a lot of positives so we are going to take this loss and keep going on, and hopefully see this team later on in the season.”
If the Kewpies had gained momentum before halftime, it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to take it back. On the first play of the second half, Chris Benham broke free and ran 74 yards for a touchdown and a 29-7 lead.
The play of the Kewpies’ special teams was one bright spot. In the third quarter, Mike Roper broke through the Wildcat line to block a punt, and Cedric Alvis picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a 29-14 score.
“The ball was right there,” Alvis said. “Why not pick it up and score?”