Hickman went into Friday’s game hoping to protect home turf and register its first win of the season . The Kewpies, coming off of a rough week one 63-21 loss to Francis Howell, hoped to have a different fate this week, but their opponent, Helias, had other plans routing Hickman 68-18.
Helias won the coin toss, but chose to defer and kick to the Kewpies. Coach Cedric Alvis had said earlier in the week that the focal point for Hickman’s offense was ball security. Hickman managed to successfully hold onto the pigskin for one snap before fumbling the ball the very next play. Helias scored from there with little trouble to record its first six points . While the Kewpies managed to block Helias’ extra point attempt, it was all downhill from there.
Helias kicked it back to Hickman, and the Kewpies fumbled on the return. Helias turned in another touchdown as a result, and after making the extra point the game sat at 13-0 just five minutes in.
This sequence defined an underwhelming game for the Kewpies, who had three turnovers in the first quarter alone.
At that point the Crusaders began to see what they could get away with, and kicked their first onside kick of the game. The onside kick was successful, and Helias recovered the ball after Hickman got a piece of it. A few snaps later the Crusaders cruised to the end zone once again, and the score read 20-0 with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Hickman attempted to get its offense going, pitching it into the backfield, but were met fiercely with hard hits for losses of yardage. The Kewpies simply struggled to move the chains and failed to successfully block for their guys. After an unsuccessful drive, they kicked back to Helias, who only needed one snap to score yet again. The score became 27-0 with five minutes still remaining in the first quarter.
Hickman managed to put points on the board after a two-yard rush from junior receiver LJ Williams, who was a big factor for the Kewpies’ offense throughout the night.
The very next quarter Williams gave Hickman hope after scoring on an 85-yard reception. Despite Williams giving the team a lift, Helias managed to score again shortly after, making it 34-12 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
The Kewpies continued to move the chains in the wrong direction. They found themselves at fourth-and-25 the very next drive. Helias scored once again, finishing the half at 41-12. Hickman struggled to hold onto the ball, and when it did it found itself losing yardage or throwing incomplete passes. Starting quarterback TJ Turner finished the game completing 5/13 passes. The second half was more of the same, with Hickman only managing to score once more, while the Crusaders continued to wreak havoc. The game ended with a score of 68-18.
“ We had a lot of turnovers on offense and with special teams, so (holding on to the football) is still a focal point,” Alvis said when asked if their focus from Week 1 had changed at all.
But Alvis felt like not only was the Kewpies' ball security off, but that their ball protection was lacking as well.
“I think we missed a lot of blocks up front. We didn’t block things very well, and it starts with the line of scrimmage,” said Alvis.
While blocking was an issue when rushing, Alvis did mention that he felt his quarterback could have read the defense better at times when passing.
“Quarterback wise we gotta get better at reading, making better decisions with the football, knowing where to go,” Alvis said when asked about Turner’s completion rate.
When asked if he felt they had improved on their focus from Week 1, Alvis said “(Turner) threw two (interceptions), last week he threw three. He managed to get the ball out of his hands quicker tonight. Small things...but we were able to get the ball down the field, we were able to make some explosive plays in the passing game.”
The Kewpies will look to brush off Friday’s loss and get their first win of the season when they go on the road next week to face Capital City High School.