HURRICANE — Hurricane has given itself a chance.
The Redskins (5-3) needed a victory over Capital (1-7) Friday night to keep their Class AAA playoff hopes alive. Hurricane more than handled the job, defeating the Cougars 54-6.
“We practiced hard during our bye week, just like it was for a regular game,” said Redskins quarterback Ismael Borrero, who completed 10 of 18 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for a pair of scores. “Every game is a playoff game for us now.”
Hurricane has defending state champion South Charleston and perennial power Spring Valley left on the schedule. The Redskins came into the game 13th in the playoff ratings.
After stopping Capital on a three-and-out to open the game, Hurricane needed just four plays to score. On first-and-20 from the Cougars’ 25, Borrero threw a touchdown pass to Lucas Rippetoe. Troy Conley’s extra point made it 7-0.
Capital’s next drive, 13 plays from its own 29 to the Redskins 12, netted nothing, but Trent Tiggle intercepted a Borrero pass and returned it 16 yards to the Hurricane 15. Two plays later, Zion Smith raced around right end and leaped into the end zone. The conversion pass was incomplete and the Cougars were within 7-6.
Borrero made it 13-6 on the second play of the second quarter when he faked a handoff to Elijah Rivera, who carried 13 times for 129 yards, and raced 7 yards for a TD. Borrero scored again, running over a defensive back near the goal line on an 11-yard carry to give the Redskins a 20-6 lead.
Capital mounted another lengthy drive, going 40 yards in 11 plays, only to come up empty again. Hurricane appeared content to run out the final 1:04, but a 15-yard face-mask penalty on the Cougars changed coach Jeremy Taylor’s mind. Borrero threw 35 yards to Chase Hager and 10 yards to Rippetoe to set up Rivera’s 1-yard touchdown plunge 24 seconds before halftime.
“I wasn’t real happy with the way we played in the first half,” Taylor said. “We left some things on the field. It’s hard for kids to concentrate against teams you’re supposed to beat, but against South Charleston and Spring Valley we have to be better.”
Taylor said he was pleased with the second half, which started with Borrero throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass to JT James. Bryson Murrell and Rivera sandwiched short touchdown runs around a 30-yard TD pass from Borrero to Heath Montgomery.
Capital coach Mark Mason said his young, injury-riddled team is learning.
“The first quarter, we were doing pretty good,” Mason said. “We did what we could do. We have so many injuries. We’re starting two ninth-graders on offense and four on defense.”