Special teams proved to be the difference-maker in Hickman’s 44-33 win over DeSmet Friday night.
The Kewpies (9-1) advanced to the semifinals where they will travel to Rockhurst for a rematch between the two top ranked teams in class 6.
Three punting miscues ultimately cost the game for DeSmet (10-1). Two blocked punts in the Spartans’ end zone by Hickman’s Aaron Cawlfield in the first quarter resulted in a safety and a touchdown, while a muffed snap by DeSmet’s punter late in the second quarter led to another Kewpies touchdown.
With 20 seconds remaining in the first half, Hickman took possession at the Spartans’ 12-yard line after the mishandled snap by DeSmet on fourth down.
It only took one play for the Kewpies to find the end zone, when quarterback Andrew Perkins hit Cedric Alvis for the 12-yard score. With the extra point converted, Hickman headed in at half with a comfortable 30-6 lead.
DeSmet quarterback Tommy Corwin did his best to make it interesting in the second half. Corwin threw three touchdown passes trying to lead the Spartans to a second-half comeback, but was never able to get DeSmet within 10 points.
Corwin finished the game 17-of-34 with 331 yards passing and four touchdown passes.
Offensively, the Kewpies were able to get big plays at key times in the second half to secure the victory.
With Hickman’s lead cut to ten points running back Brandon Kendrick rattled off two straight runs of 20 yards and 40 yards to begin the fourth quarter. The 40-yard run resulted in six more points for the Kewpies and squashed any momentum DeSmet had been building up.
Kendrick finished with 162 yards rushing on 26 carries with a touchdown.
Perkins threw for two touchdowns and ran for two to help the Kewpies stay alive in the state playoffs.