SPRINGFIELD — Facing a much-anticipated district game with Rock Bridge this week, the Hickman football team could have easily looked past Kickapoo.
The Kewpies avoided the potential pitfall, defeating the Chiefs 21-10 in their first district game Friday night at Pottenger Stadium.
The Kewpies (5-3, 1-0) forced a fumble and two interceptions, one of which Cedric Alvis ran back 45 yards for a touchdown. On the play in the first quarter, Chiefs quarterback Shane Laurie threw to an open Channing Dokes, but Dokes tipped the ball into the air. Alvis, playing cornerback, reacted, caught it and ran for a touchdown.
“(Kyle) Nuelle and Luke (Harper) and those guys put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, forcing him to make bad throws,” Alvis said. “We practice it. They drill us on those routes.”
Alvis finished with two interceptions, the second coming late in the fourth quarter.
Hickman coach Gregg Nesbitt said he was pleased with the play of the secondary.
“Cedric Alvis I thought really played well,” Nesbitt said. “Dane Guivera came in in the second half and we had good pressure on the (quarterback).”
Alvis, who scored two touchdowns in a win Oct. 17 against Webb City, also scored on offense. Later in the first quarter, the Kewpies drove to the Kickapoo 10. Quarterback Blake Tekotte found Alvis on a screen pass. Alvis then scampered into the end zone for a 14-point Hickman advantage.
Tekotte finished with 82 yards on 7-of-14 passing and rushed for 97 yards.
Laurie and the Chiefs (5-3, 0-1) had many opportunities to climb back into the game, but costly penalties that created long fourth-down attempts and dropped passes deep in Hickman territory proved too much for the Chiefs to overcome.
“Their quarterback is very elusive and when he starts scrambling around back there the tendency is for the secondary to get their eyes on him,” Nesbitt said. “They got some separation, but of course I thought they didn’t make a couple plays.”
In the second half, the Kewpies relied on their running game. They rushed for 135 yards in the second half, while completing one pass. The Kewpies scored the most points a team has scored against Kickapoo this season. Going into the game, the Chiefs had limited opponents to six points a game.
“I thought we had a nice mixture,” Nesbitt said. “We did come out and establish the ability to throw the ball. At halftime we made a couple adjustments, in particular, what they were doing to one of our formations. I thought we needed to run the ball with a little bit more authority and I think we did that in the second half.”
The Kewpies finished with 230 yards rushing on 32 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run by Brandon Kendrick to put the Kewpies up 21-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Eric Owen, a sophomore who rushed for 38 yards on seven carries said his team is eager to face Rock Bridge on Friday.
“I appreciate the opportunity that coach has given me,” Owen said. “We are already concentrating on next week’s game and the seniors are doing a great job in trying to get us prepared.”