The season continues for the Hickman Kewpies.
The Kewpies won their first District 6 championship in three years by defeating the Jefferson City Jays 42-16 on Friday night at Hickman. It was Hickman’s first home victory against the Jays since 1984.
Hickman will play at Fort Zumwalt West (4-6) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the Class 6 state playoffs. Fort Zumwalt West won the District 5 title on Friday night with a 34-24 victory against Fort Zumwalt South.
Balanced attack beats Jays
Using a balanced offensive attack, Hickman (7-3, 3-0) gained 356 yards against the Jays, including 175 yards from running back Brandon Kendrick. Hickman quarterback Blake Tekotte added a solid passing game, going 11-of-18 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
On Hickman’s first possession, Kendrick scampered around the left end, broke away from Jefferson City’s defense and sprinted 52 yards for a touchdown. Kendrick scored three times, twice on runs of more than 50 yards. Coach Gregg Nesbitt credited the offensive line for the success of the running game.
“We wanted to get a good balance,” Nesbitt said. “I didn’t know how well we would play up front, but we played extremely well up there.”
Kewpies start strong
The Kewpies opened up a 28-7 lead with 1:18 left in the second quarter, but the Jays stayed in the game with the help of quarterback Tim Allen. With 25 seconds left in the first half, Allen found Kirk Duncan for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Hickman took the ball after halftime, but Jefferson City (7-3, 2-1) stopped the Kewpies in three plays and after the punt, drove to the 5 on a 13-play, 63-yard drive. The Jays failed to score, though. The Kewpies kept them out of the end zone on the next four plays and got the ball back after stopping Allen on a quarterback sneak from the 1.
“We knew Jeff City would come back and they did,” Nesbitt said. “We had a great goal-line stand.”
The Kewpies couldn’t get beyond the 2, and lined up to punt. Instead of punting, though, Tekotte stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make the score 28-16.
Nesbitt said he elected to take the safety to make Jefferson City drive farther for a score.
“We had a lot of confidence in our defense, but we didn’t want to give them a field of 30 (yards),” Nesbitt said. “I debated, I’m not going to lie. It’s a tough call. After a great goal line stand let’s make them go 60 and it worked out for us.”
Play of the game
The move quickly paid off for the Kewpies. After two Jays’ first downs, Ryan Nesbitt dived and intercepted Allen along the right sideline on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“Nesbitt picking it off was the play of the game,” Nuelle said. “They had been throwing on us with the quicks and then going long. Nesbitt stepped in and made a big play, stayed in bounds and made the (interception).”
Tekotte found Cedric Alvis on a slant route on fourth-and-10 for a 19-yard touchdown to put the Kewpies up 35-16 with 8:09 left in the fourth quarter.
“Cedric Alvis came up with a huge, huge play,” Tekotte said. “That pretty much shut the game right there. On a fourth-down play, Cedric, he’s our playmaker. Coach called his number and he stepped up and he did his job.”