The Hillcrest football team jumped out to a 21-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter on their way to a 34-28 win over the Rothsay Tigers on Friday night.
“We had our chances to put the game away early, but Rothsay did a great job in fighting back in the game, making things difficult for us,” commented Hillcrest Head Coach Korey Fry. “Giving up two special teams touchdowns really gave them the momentum back. Our guys stayed calm and played together for four quarters.”
Evan Lindgren got the Comets on the scoreboard with a seven yard run for a touchdown midway through the first quarter. Endre Okland added the extra-point kick for a 7-0 Hillcrest lead.
Caden Fischer connected with Joel Bowman on an 18 yard scoring toss six seconds into the second quarter and Okland made it 14-0 with a PAT kick. Fischer then broke loose for a 63 yard TD run with eight minutes remaining in the half and Okland tacked on the 21st point. Rothsay scored the final two first half TD’s on a 2 yard run by Karson Jensen and a two-point conversion pass from Tanner Heier to Chris Carrillo with 4:23 on the clock, and a Heier to Carrillo 8 yard TD pass with 15 seconds left, cutting the Comets halftime lead to 21-14.
Rothsay trimmed the Hillcrest lead to a point at 21-20 with just over ten minutes to play in the third quarter when Jensen ran for a 60 yard TD. Hillcrest responded with a 20 yard touchdown pass from Fischer to Bowman and an Okland extra point kick to put the score at 28-20. Jensen returned the ensuing kick-off 88 yards for a score and Heier hit Carrillo with the two-point conversion pass to tie the game at 28-28 with 8:07 left in the quarter. With 32 seconds to play in the third, Lindgren got into the end zone on a one yard run and the Tigers blocked the extra point kick to leave the score at 34-28. The fourth quarter was scoreless.
“Joel Bowman had another great game offensively with 100 yards receiving and 2 TD’s,” noted Coach Fry. “Having Evan Lindgren back on the field this week was big. He’s one of our offensive leaders and keeps us on schedule in the running game. Micah Bermel is really playing big these last few weeks, defensively.”
Fischer completed 13-of-26 passes for 152 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. He also led the ground attack with 80 yards on 12 carries. Lindgren had 17 attempts for 52 yards. Defensive leaders were Gavin Knutson (6 tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 2 fumble recoveries), Zayne Weinrich (6 tackles, 3 assisted tackles) and Bermel (6 tackles, 2 assisted tackles). Lindgren and Bowman each had a pass interception.
“Overall, we are coming into our own,” stated Coach Fry. “We knew the first three games were going to be tough, but we know we are a good team as well. Two of our goals at the beginning of the year are to host a playoff game (which we are still in line to do), but also to beat a rival team in Rothsay. We are still looking to put together a complete game with offense, defense and special teams. This week we play a solid Sebeka team for Homecoming. We will be honoring the 2001 State Title team as they celebrate their 20th anniversary.”