The Hornets gave those in attendance and those watching on the internet a first look at how good they are when they crushed the Fighting Tigers of Breckinridge County by a final score of 56-0 Friday.
Hancock County was nearly unstoppable on the ground and through the air as they began the program’s 50th season on the gridiron. The Hornet defense was just as impressive.
Breck took the opening kickoff but a few plays into the drive Austin Volocko made the first big play of the season for the Hornets. The senior intercepted a Tiger pass attempt and returned the ball to Breck’s 33 yard line.
Cole Dixon completed a first down pass to Kaleb Keown on the first play and Hancock County was in business at the 20 yard line. A few plays later it was Dixon on a roll out to his left. The senior quarterback threw a strike to the end zone and Sean Young made the catch for a 17-yard touchdown. Jack Roberts scored the 2-point conversion and the Hornets led 8-0 early.
Aiden Embry and Braydon Wathen got after the Tiger QB during Breck’s next possession and the hit resulted in another interception by the Hornet defense. Aiden Weatherholt picked off the pass and gave Hancock County field position deep in Tiger territory.
Another Dixon to Keown completion gave the Hornets a first–and–goal at the nine yard line. Drew Lyday came in at QB and took the snap in the pistol. The senior ran left behind a host of blockers and sliced his way into the end zone for the TD.
Breck was forced to punt the ball away and the Hornets took advantage right away when Dixon found a streaking Volocko down the right sidelines. The pass was on target and Volocko made a perfect over–the–shoulder catch for a 36-yard TD.
After the kickoff the Tiger offense began at their own 37 yard line and the Hancock defense continued to dominate. Lyday made a nice tackle for a loss on Breck’s Michael Johnson.
Tiger QB Parker Davis looked to pass on second down but he overthrew his receiver and Volocko was in the right position once again. This time Austin jumped up high and snagged the pass out of the air at the Tiger’s 47 yard line. The fun was just beginning as he ran left then cut to the right and carried the ball all the way in for the TD. The first ‘pick-6’ of the season and the Hornets led 28-0 after a successful conversion run by Roberts.
The Tigers tried to run right on their next possession but there was nothing doing. The Breck running back was consumed by a swarm of Hornets led by Weatherholt as the quarter came to an end.
Breck completed a short pass to begin the second period, but the ball was fumbled and recovered by Jack Duncan. Landen Garrison and Weatherholt made the hit that forced the turnover and the Hornets took over at the Breck 45 yard line.
Dixon tried for a screen pass and Hornet offensive lineman Aaron Garrett made the catch and proceeded to run for yardage. The play was flagged for illegal touching, but the play was still a highlight for the senior lineman.
Moments later it was Logan Willis on a big gainer down to the Breck 20 yard line. Another first down by Willis and the Hornets were poised to score again. This time it was Dixon on a keeper for an 8-yard TD. Lyday scored on a conversion run and the score was 36-0 early in the second quarter. Ross Powers got into the backfield and dropped a runner for a big loss and the Tigers were later forced to punt the ball away.
A nifty return by Garrison was negated by a penalty and the Hornets began on their own 44. A gain by Willis and a Tiger penalty moved the ball down to the 17 yard line. Dixon rolled to his right and threw to the end zone where Volocko made the catch for his third TD of the game. The score was 42-0 with six minutes remaining in the first half.
By rule the officials had a running clock going and the teams walked to their respective locker rooms without incident.
The Hornets received the ball to begin the second half and Dixon quickly threw a completion to Volocko. On the next play it was Willis on another big run that ended with him plowing over a Tiger defender to the delight of the visiting crowd.
Hancock had a first down at the 25 yard line when Duncan took the handoff. Jackhammer raced untouched to the end zone but the would-be TD was called back on a penalty.
The coach called for the same play and this time Duncan ran for 35 yards to the Tiger 10. Another penalty on Hancock moved the ball back to the 20 but it didn’t matter. A few plays later it was Duncan on a 1-yard plunge for the score, running behind offensive lineman Kaleb Swihart, Aaron Garrett, Luke Pritchard, Tristan French and Cade Herndon. Roberts scored the conversion and the score was 50-0 with 5:12 remaining in the third.
Coach Eubanks pulled some starters and Dylan Morris entered the game at QB. Chris Gillispie ran for big yardage and Morris later capped off the scoring with a 13-yard TD.
Dixon completed 7 of 7 pass attempts for 127 and three TDs.
Volocko had three receptions for 66 and two TDs. Keown had two catches for 22 yards. Young had one catch for 21 yards and one TD. Willis had one catch for 13 yards and Garrison had one for five yards.
Willis led in rushing with 62 yards on five carries. Gillispie had three runs for 51 yards, Duncan ran four times for 34 yards, Roberts had one carry for 33 yards, Morris ran twice for 23 yards, Lyday and Dixon each had one carry for seven yards.
The Hornets racked up 344 total yards of offense.
Weatherholt led the defense with 11 tackles. Lyday had nine stops, including two tackles for loss. Powers had eight stops with two TFLs, Duncan made six tackles, Embry had four stops (one TFL), Wathen had three stops (two TFLs), Hayden Shearn, Evan Ferry, Garrison, Gillispie and Roberts all made two tackles each, and Colin Johnson made one stop.
Breck County was held to 92 total yards of offense.
By Steve Wimmer