A big win can do wonders for a team’s confidence.
Hickman snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the Parkway South Patriots 37-19 on Friday night at Hickman.
Coach Gregg Nesbitt said that he thought his team was fragile coming into the game, but after earning a two-touchdown lead, the Kewpies gained confidence.
“You can’t get a more important win,” tight end Scottie Guthrie said. “First home game in a long time, homecoming and from a confidence standpoint we needed to play harder, and I think we did.”
The Patriots lingered close behind the Kewpies (3-3) for most of the second half, but a big Hickman defensive stand and subsequent touchdown drive in the third quarter put the game out of the Patriots’ reach. After recovering running back Brandon Kendrick’s fumble at the Hickman 25, the Patriots (3-3) had an excellent opportunity to take the lead.
Trailing 24-19, Parkway South could not capitalize, though. On fourth down, Dannon Coleman sacked Ryan Evers for a loss of 17 to give the Kewpies the ball back.
“That play, and the combination of the ensuing drive broke their back,” Nesbitt said. “There was a lot of pressure and I thought our kids really responded.”
After regaining possession, the Kewpies drove 61 yards in eight plays. Kendrick capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to make the score 31-19.
Devoting 42 of 53 snaps to running plays, the Kewpies gained a season-high 293 yards on the ground, including 155 yards and two touchdowns from Kendrick.
“After playing Blue Springs South, I really got shut down,” Kendrick said. “It really meant something to me to show I could step out here and do my best.”
Kendrick, a junior who gained 108 yards in the first half, said his offensive line created big holes for him to run through.
“I give all the credit to my O-line,” Kendrick said. “They were great, I just got through the holes. If the blocking wasn’t there I wouldn’t have been able to run the way I did.”
The Kewpies dominated early. They scored two touchdowns in their first two possessions and added a field goal to make the score 17-6 at the end of the first quarter.
“We blocked well and ran well most of the night,” Nesbitt said. “I thought it was a real tribute to our offensive team. It was by far the best ballgame they played and they did it against a good football team.”
Although the Kewpies rushed to a lead, the Patriots’ air attack kept them in the game. Taking advantage of the Kewpies’ zone coverage, Evers completed 21-of-34 passes for 191 yards.
Hickman led 24-12 at the half. Nesbitt said he credits the work of his assistant coaches Jason Wright and Arnell Monroe for limiting the Patriots offense to seven points after halftime.
“I thought coach Wright and coach Monroe at halftime really came up big with a pressure package,” Nesbitt said. “The kids responded very well and they caught them with some pressure calls to create some sacks.”