Hough High wants some of what Vance and Mallard Creek have.
The Huskies went into Thursday’s I-Meck 4A showdown against Mallard Creek figuring on a taking a giant step toward respect, and earned it with a 35-14 win that improved their record to 6-0. They’ll get a shot at sweeping the league’s powerhouse programs next week against Vance, which, like Mallard Creek, has a state championship pedigree.
“I think it proved a point to everyone who doubted us that we’re coming for Vance and we’re coming for a state title,” said Hough receiver Tyler Hoff, who caught four passes for 133 yards and a pair of scores.
Hough broke the game open with a 21-point second quarter that turned a close game into a runaway. A 14-play, 99-yard drive set the tone, with the Huskies’ ground attack setting the stage for the first score, a 36-yard pass from Tad Hudson to Hoff. The Mavericks brought more defenders closer to the line of scrimmage and Hoff exploited the opening unchecked once he got past the secondary. He and Hudson did it again in the third quarter on a 71-yard connection for a 28-0 advantage.
“We started off strong with the run game and the o-line opened it up for us where we were able to hit those deep shots downfield,” Hoff said. “I ran a slant ball on the first one, then a high slant on the next one. They brought the safeties down and we were able to hit the middle.”
For Hough defensive end Julian Rawlins, beating Mallard Creek, which had a three-game win streak snapped, was as much about the past as the present. His older brothers know the frustration of losing to the Mavericks dating to Hough’s founding in 2010, but this is a different Huskies team.
“We knew what we were going to do,” said Rawlins, who tallied three of Hough’s six sacks. “We know who we’ve got. We did what we were supposed to do, we played the way we were supposed to play.”
As a result, the Huskies limited Mallard Creek’s opportunities to convert Hough mistakes into points. The Mustangs intercepted four passes but outside a couple of late touchdowns weren’t able to stay in contention. Part of that was pressuring the edge, part of it was limiting Mallard Creek to 73 yards in the first half when the outcome was all but settled.
“We just ran our blitzes,” Rawlins. “Everybody go to their gap; win their one-on-ones like they were supposed to, and the sacks were there. The pressure was coming.”
Mallard Creek 0 0 0 14-14
Hough 0 21 7 7-35
H-Tyler Hoff 36 pass from Tad Hudson (Nolan Hoozer kick)
H-Elijah McWilliams 72 run (Hoozer kick)
H-Cayden Bell-McKethan 7 run (Hoozer kick)
H-Hoff 71 pass from Hudson (Hoozer kick)
MC-David Lampkin 71 pass Xavion Brown (Seth Howell kick)
MC-Zion Booker 10 pass from Brown (Howell kick)