MADISON — Herbert Hoover scored two second-half touchdowns and used an opportunistic defense to down Scott 28-14 on Friday in the season opener for both football teams.
It was a battle of squads that each won just one game last season. The Huskies got their only win of 2018 in a Cardinal Conference tilt over the Skyhawks in Kanawha County.
The Huskies’ win Friday spoiled the return of Shane Griffith, Scott’s career leader in gridiron wins. Griffith returned to the program this season after a three-year absence, which saw him coach a year at Van High School.
Huskies coach Tim Meyer was pleased to get a conference win out of the gate.
“It is a good win for us,” he said. “We struggled early tonight and Coach Griffith had his team ready to play and they are very much improved and well-coached.”
Hoover struck first in the opening quarter as junior Zach Paxton punched the ball in on a dive from 3 yards out after a sustained drive by the Huskies and they led 7-0.
Scott (0-1) responded in grand fashion on a second-down play from its own three, as Caleb Hughes went 97 yards down the sideline with one man to beat in the secondary. Hughes hit paydirt to knot the score at 7.
The Huskies (1-0) went up 14-7 thanks to a crafty 43-yard jaunt on a counter play from Nathan Harper to the weak side.
On what might have been the most exciting play of the game, the Skyhawks tied the game at 14 before the half when Caleb Hughes hit Caleb Dingess with a pass that was tipped into the receiver’s hands. Dingess took the ball 57 yards for the score.
The second half was all Huskies, as Hoover controlled the line of scrimmage and Paxton wore down the Skyhawks by keeping drives alive with tough runs into the heart of Scott’s defense.
Hoover’s junior signal caller Nick Grayam got in on the scoring action with a 4-yard keeper in the third to put his squad up by a touchdown.
Scott showed signs of life in the fourth when it shut down a fake field goal attempt but after a three-and-out, Hoover shut the door for good when Paxton fell into the end zone on a 3-yard dive to seal a 28-14 win.
“Zach took over the game for us and he did a real nice job sustaining drives,” Meyer said. “We’ve got to improve on assignments in the secondary. We played pretty well defensively but gave up big plays and offensively we’ve got to finish off drives. We got down inside and couldn’t punch it in. We kicked the ball around a little bit and missed wide-open receivers. We played hard and finished the game, so I’m pleased with that.”
Herbert Hoover travels to Winfield next week and Scott will host St. Marys.