What a difference a week makes.
In the 2016 season opener, Father Ryan dominated Hillwood on its way to a 48-6 triumph.
In the second game of the 2016 season, the Hilltoppers traveled to Hunters Lane and used a 24-point second quarter to bulldoze the Warriors, 37-7.
“We had open competition for each position last week in practice and ended up with three new starters along the offensive line,” said Hillwood coach Kurt Page. “Our practices were more focused and intense and it showed against Hunters Lane.”
The tone of the contest was set in the first quarter when cornerback Cymitrius Addison stoned Hunters Lane running back Malachi French, which resulted in a fumble that Addison scooped up and raced 29 yards for a touchdown.
“Addison’s play really jump-started our team and season,” said the second year Hillwood coach.
After kicker Liam Dougherty connected on a 35-yard field goal to put the Hilltoppers ahead 10-0 early in the second quarter, the Toppers offense would gain its mojo reeling off three TDs to close out the first half.
The first score came as quarterback Hale Page found running back Monterrion McKissack on a 40-yard strike. Next came a 5-yard TD jaunt by running back Antonio Walton and the final score with seven seconds remaining in the half came as Page did his best Doug Flutie imitation of dodging, darting and reversing his field resulting in a 15-yard run to paydirt.
With a commanding, 31-0 halftime lead, the Hilltoppers’ offense was in cruise control the remainder of the game.
Hunters Lane’s would finally dent the scoreboard in the third quarter when Terrance Luckett scored 5-yard touchdown run.
Backup QB Zion Tate provided the final Hillwood points of the night with a 1-yard run, his second touchdown of the young season.
The Hillwood offense featured a balanced attack with 159 yards rushing and 163 yards passing for the game.
Addison led a stable of contributing rushers with 46 yards, followed by McKissack with 43, Walton with 31 and Page with 22.
Page also rebounded nicely from a nightmarish season opener by completing seven of his 12 passes for 123 yards, while Tate was perfect on all three of his passes for 40 yards.
The defense was motivated to shut down the Warriors offensive attack after surrendering over 200 yards rushing to Father Ryan … mission accomplished.
Hunters Lane managed just 28 yards rushing on 25 carries, which is miniscule 1.1 yards per carry. The Hilltoppers also stymied the Warriors pass-game, which resulted in just 57 yards.
Defensive back Thaddeus Clay led the Toppers with seven total tackles, including an interception that he returned 50 yards, followed by defensive end Daniel Bonner with five tackles.
Linebacker Brandon Lyles recorded four tackles but three of those led Hillwood’s total of nine stops for loss.
Next up for Hillwood is hosting the defending 4A-Region 6 champion Kenwood Knights on Friday night. Last season the Hilltoppers shocked the Knights, 35-28, which ultimately propelled the team to its first playoff-berth in 12 years.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Hillwood Rebounds With Win Against Hunters Lane