Hickman football’s backup quarterback rotation brought the team home in its away conference game against Smith-Cotton. With starting quarterback Eric “TJ” Turner out after dislocating his thumb in the first half, players who weren’t used to leading the offense had to step up.
The Kewpies rotated a trio of backups to fill Turner’s absence. Ewan Tolmie, Colbin Clark and go-to wide receiver La’Javion Williams all substituted at QB. The unusual strategy paid off, as the squad adapted to maintain the lead the entire game. Hickman was able to claim its second win of the season, defeating Smith-Cotton 26-16.
Even though the Tigers have yet to win a game this season, they weren’t going to just hand over the game without a fight. After a 34-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter for Smith-Cotton, it looked as though the Kewpies could be the first team itthey would beat. That was until Hickman’s four-headed rushing monster woke up.
Two possessions after the opening Smith-Cotton touchdown, junior Deon Weston ran the ball down the Tiger’s throat for a 49-yard touchdown and the following PAT gave Hickman the lead, 7-6. Junior KeShawn Collins also contributed a rushing touchdown. Ultimately, the Kewpies overpowered the Tigers, bringing their overall record to 2-2.
Offensively, Williams took charge of the game. He finished with one passing touchdown and an 85-yard rushing touchdown, showcasing his versatility with every play. The pressure of taking on two roles in one game didn’t shake Williams despite a few mistakes here and there throughout the game.
“LJ was ready,” Hickman coach Cedric Alvis said. “He stepped up and was ready to go. He did really well for something he’s never practiced. He was able to get in there and make plays for us.”
The Kewpies offense wasn’t the only thing shining Friday nighttonight. For the past few weeks, Alvis and his defense have been working on tackling, hitting harder and moving quicker. Against the Tigers, it did just that.
Seniors Adison Barnett-Hill and Luke Ochoa led the pack, creating mayhem whenever the Tigers had the ball. Another standout on defense was junior Jaiden Tandy, who made sure every tackle was felt with his hard-hitting speed. Forced turnovers were the highlight of the Kewpie’s’ performance Friday nighttonight. Hill finished with a couple of sacks and an interception, while Tandy snagged two interceptions of his own.
“Defensively, we did a lot better,” Alvis said. “We were flying around, got turnovers, playing in our opponent’s backfield, and that’s exactly what you want to see on the defensive side of the ball.”
Despite the improvement Hickman made this week, there were still multiple penalties were committed and mental errors made. On both sides of the field, yellow flags were thrown continuously. Those mental errors are one of the main reasons the Kewpies didn’t score even more points; three of their touchdowns were called back because of penalties.
Smith-Cotton made a last-minute comeback attempt with less than half of the fourth quarter remaining. Despite Smith-Cotton scoring 10 unanswered points, the Kewpies had just enough cushion to beat the Tigers.
The Kewpies will next play at 7 p.m. FridayOct. 2, when they host Jefferson City (2-3).