October 1, 2009 at 8:34 a.m.
Jordan Hickcox had a big game on both sides of the ball for the Wildcats, rushing 13 times for 106 yards, catching a pass on the first play from scrimmage, returning two punts for a total of 51 yards and scoring a touchdown on a 31-yard interception return. The Wildcat defense picked up where they left off last week, not allowing the Fighting Saints into the red zone after the opening drive of the game.
The Wildcats began the game's opening drive on their own 29, surprising the Fighting Saints with a first down pass as Sargeant hit Hickcox for 14 yards. Both Hickcox and Sargeant had 22 yard runs as the Wildcats easily moved the ball down the field. On second and 4 from the 6, Joey Reed scored a touchdown on the eighth play of the drive. Dominic Novak added the extra point to put the Wildcats up 7-0.
The Fighting Saints returned the ensuing kickoff 41 yards to put themselves in good field position at the Wildcat 49. On third and seven, a 42-yard completion gave them first and goal at the Wildcat 4. Two plays later, the quarterback scored on a keeper to tie the game at 7-7.
The defenses showed their chops as both teams went three and out and traded punts. Hickcox provided some excitement for the Wildcats with a 44 yard run, but the Wildcats failed to convert on fourth and 1 and turned the ball over on downs at the Fighting Saints' 38 yard line. The stingy Wildcat defense again held the Saints to just three plays, and the Wildcats took over on their own 25 after a short punt.
That's when the Wildcats went on a one play, 75-yard drive courtesy of the offensive line and the legs of Sargeant. On a triple option left, Sargeant kept the ball, turned upfield inside began his exciting 75 yard journey to the end zone to put the Wildcats up for good at 14-7. "Jeff's touchdown happened so fast, I almost missed it completely," said Wildcat head coach Bill Weiss. "I was talking to the defense, heard the excitement from our sideline and turned around to see Jeff already on the other end of the field. Wow!"
The Wildcat defense quickly forced another punt early in the second quarter, and a 27 yard return by Hickcox put the ball in great field position at the St. Francis 48 yard line. Three runs by Hickcox and a 5 yard completion to Kyle Duncan gave the Wildcats third and 5 at the 31. Sargeant connected with tight end Brian Eichten for a 31 yard touchdown pass to increase the Wildcat lead to 21-7.
Later in the quarter, facing second and 7 from their own 31, the St. Francis quarterback dropped back to pass. As he fired it over the middle, Hickcox made a nice break on the ball, picked it off and ran 31 yards into the end zone to put the Wildcats up 28-7.
In the third, the Wildcat defense continued to frustrate the Saints as the offense continued to pile up yards. The Wildcats ate up a lot of time on a 10 play drive, highlighted by a 16 yard run by Nathan Gilman. They got the ball down inside the 10, but a fumble prevented them from adding to the score. "Losing the fumble didn't bite us this time," said Weiss, "but we can't be doing that. That's still one of the areas we have to improve on."
The Fighting Saints went into desperation mode on their first two drives of the fourth quarter, firing up ten passes but failing to make much of a dent in the Wildcat defense. The Wildcats took over at the 50 late in the game. Sargeant immediately hit Tyler Keesee for a 28 yard gain. Three plays later, Joey Reed scored his second touchdown of the game from 2 yards out. The clock ran out on the Saints' next possession as the Wildcats came away with a dominating 35-7 win.
"After their first score, or defense was lights out," said Weiss. "I didn't have to say much to them tonight. For the most part, we picked up where we left off last week. Holding a team to seven points is not easy in high school football. It was fun to play in a great atmosphere in front of an excited crowd at their homecoming. The rain managed to hold off during the game and we had a great group of fans supporting us on the road."
Weiss continued "Jordan Hickcox had a pretty good game for us, to say the least. He didn't touch the ball a whole lot the first few weeks, but when his number was called tonight he made the most of it. Our halfbacks got more opportunities than normal to carry the ball based on how the defense was playing us. They tried to take away some of our inside game and that meant Jordan and Joey Reed got to carry the ball a lot." In addition to Hickcox's 106 yard performance, Reed carried the ball 13 times for 71 yards and Sargeant finished with 99 yards on 10 carries.
The Wildcats (2-2) have a homecoming game of their own this Friday at 7 p.m. against the Totino Grace Eagles, who are 4-0 and ranked at or near the top of all the polls in Class 4A. It's common for teams to schedule homecoming games against weaker teams to so they can win big in front of a large homecoming crowd. So why are the Wildcats playing what may be the best team in the state for homecoming? "We usually play well against Totino," said Weiss. "So why not have a big crowd on our side to give us an edge? We want to make it as tough as possible for them."
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