Herbert Hoover’s football team came out of the gates quick and stunned unbeaten Poca, scoring a touchdown on the opening possession of the game and putting the Dots behind for the first time in the 2019 season.
After that, though, it was all Poca. Standout Ethan Payne and the Dots scored the next 57 points en route to a 63-14 road victory over the Huskies at Joe Eddie Cowley Field Friday to improve to 9-0 on the season. Hoover fell to 3-6.
Payne scored seven touchdowns on the night, including six rushing (5, 9, 18, 15, 57, 67 yards). The junior ran for 192 yards on 15 carries and caught four passes for 105 yards, including a 52-yard TD reception.
“Scoring touchdowns never gets old,” Payne said. “I still get an adrenaline rush and it feels pretty good. It was a good night out there tonight. The line and receivers blocked really good tonight. This offense is amazing. Everyone clicks together and 9-0 feels amazing.”
“Ethan is one of those kids you can only hope to get,” Poca coach Seth Ramsey said. “His numbers speak for themselves. It all starts up front. As long as we can turn around and hand it to ‘22’ and give him a hole, we are going to be all right.”
Hoover was without starting quarterback Nick Grayam, who’s out with a concussion, but backup Jacob Burns directed a scoring drive in the first start of his career.
Burns capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead with 3:11 left in the first quarter. The freshman was 2-of-2 passing on the drive, connecting with Nathan Harper on both, for 47 yards.
“We didn’t start off too good,” Ramsey said. “On the first drive, we didn’t come out prepared or up for it and bad things can happen. Moving forward, they have to come out ready to go. Hoover runs an offense we don’t see much. Coach Tim [Meyer] had his guys ready to play.”
It perhaps provided a wake-up call for the Dots, as Poca would dominate the rest of the half, scoring the next 35 points to take a commanding 28-point lead into halftime. On the next Poca possession, the Dots marched 60 yards and Payne scored on a 5-yard run to tie the game at 7 with 33.8 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Poca controlled the second quarter, outscoring Hoover 28-0. Payne scored three more times, including touchdown runs of 9 and 18 yards and the 52-yard TD reception from quarterback Jay Cook. Cook also threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Toby Payne.
“We came out slow at first but we picked it up in the second quarter,” Ethan Payne said. “It was a wake-up call for us. I had negative yards on the first possession. We weren’t ready for that but we made some adjustments in the second quarter and got it rolling.”
In the second half, Payne rushed for three more touchdowns, covering 15, 57 and 67 yards to give Poca an overwhelming 57-7 lead early in the third quarter. Hoover scored on a 2-yard run by Tyler Greer late in the third quarter and the Dots scored on a 1-yard run by Jordan Wolfe in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Burns finished the night 6 of 9 passing for 71 yards with a touchdown and an interception (by Toby Payne) for Hoover in his first career start, impressing Meyer.
“Jacob was real impressive,” Meyer said. “We have been preaching next man up and step up when you get the opportunity. I was proud of him and the kids.
“We played hard and at the end of the first quarter the score was 7-7. They went out there and gave it their all.”
Ben Kee was the leading rusher with 58 yards on 11 carries for Hoover and Harper caught three passes for 65 yards.