MORRILL — Hay Springs coach Jason Funk didn’t have an elaborate game plan for his team’s opening matchup with Morrill. He just wanted to keep things simple and pound the ball.
The Hawks did just that.
Stevin Horrocks rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns to lead Hay Springs to a 44-8 win over the Lions on Friday night at Morrill High School.
“On offense we were just going to pound the ball,” Funk said. “We were just going to see what they would give us – what they lined up in. Our game plan was very simple. We were going to run the ball right at them and see what we had to do. If we were going to throw the ball, they were going to have to make us throw the ball. Our game plan was pretty simple. We were going to line up and run right at you.”
The Hawks got things going early in the contest when Horrocks charged in from seven yards out at the eight-minute mark of the first quarter to give Hay Springs an 8-0 lead after converting the two-point conversion.
Hay Springs found the end zone again just five minutes later when Levi Ray intercepted a Morrill pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown to extend the Hawks’ lead to 14-0.
Hay Springs capped off the first-quarter scoring with just 48 seconds left when Riley Abbott recovered a Horrocks fumble on the 1-yard line. Horrocks took the ball up the middle from 11 yards out when it squirted into the air right into Abbott’s hands for the touchdown.
The second quarter featured two more Hay Springs touchdowns starting with a 1-yard keeper by quarterback Joey Johnson at the 10:15 mark of the quarter followed by a 51-yard scamper by Horrocks to give the Hawks a 38-0 halftime lead.
Horrocks finished off the Hawks’ scoring in the contest after he took the first play of the third quarter 65 yards for a touchdown giving Hay Springs a 44-0 lead.
Morrill, though, wasn’t going to settle for nothing. After sophomore Garrett Zwiebel recovered a muffed Hay Springs snap on the Hawks’ 18-yard line, the Lion offense went to work when Jorge Lara broke the plane from four yards out, cutting the lead to 44-8 with 9:15 left to play. However, the Hay Springs’ defense held for the rest of the frame to secure the win.
Funk said that his team had worked hard leading up to Friday night’s showdown with Morrill and was pleased with the Hawks’ overall effort in the win.
“I think the kids did a great job,” he said. “We executed pretty well both on offense and defense. I’m really pleased with these guys.”
Morrill coach Tom Peacock said that he and his coaching staff focused a lot on execution in the second half.
“The biggest thing that we focused on at halftime, to start with, was execution,” Peacock said. “Our thing was just to let that first half go and saying that it’s time to focus and execute correctly [in the second half].”
Peacock added that having a week off will give him and his staff some much-needed time to work more extensively with the Lions’ young squad. The Lions will try to bounce back on Sept. 13 when they host Crawford.
“We’ve got a week off this next week, so we have a good solid two weeks to really start putting things together,” Peacock said.
Hay Springs will next be in action when it travels to Rapid City Christian, S.D., on Friday.
Hay Springs (1-0) ...... 22 16 6 0 — 44
Morrill (0-1) ................... 0 0 0 8 — 8
HS — Horrocks 7 run (Horrocks run)
HS — Levi Ray 17 INT (run failed)
HS — Riley Abbott 1 run (Horrocks run)
HS — Joey Johnson 1 run (Horrocks run)
HS — Horrocks 51 run (Houser run)
HS — Horrocks 65 run (run failed)
M — Jorge Lara 4 run (Lara run)