For the first time since Nov. 13, 2006 – a span of 40 games – Orrick Coach Pat Richard huddled with his team in the end zone following a loss Monday night. The visiting Hamilton-Penny Hornets emphatically put an end to the longest winning streak in the state in the Class 1 Sectional at Simmons Field to the tune of 51-13 in a matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams.
Richard said his top-ranked Bearcats were dominated when it came to the battle in the trenches.
“Tough game for us, they have a tremendous football team,” he said. “Their opening touchdown on their first play from scrimmage really knocked the wind out of us, and we never really recovered. They had a great game plan and executed it flawlessly. They did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and their backs ran extremely hard.”
The Hornets, now 11-0, gained some measure of revenge for last year’s 18-0 loss to Orrick in the sectionals and advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal. Hamilton will host 8-4 Mid Buchanan in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
Orrick ends up 10-1 while the Bearcat seniors leave the field with a 51-2 record, four I-70 Conference championships and a pair of state titles to show for their high school careers.
“I am very proud of our young men this season,” Richard said. “They overcame a lot of adversity and really grew together as teammates and as a family. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our seniors, in their four years at Orrick High School they never lost a regular season game. In addition to all of their success on the field, I am most proud of their development as responsible, hard working young men, who will continue to be successful in all that they attempt throughout life.”
The Hamilton ground game was so dominating in rolling up 534 yards, that the Hornets did not attempt a pass. Meanwhile the Hornet defense bottled up the Orrick offense and limited the Bearcats to 144 yards on the ground while Clayton Jones completed 2 of his 6 passes for an additional 31 yards.
Quarterback Keagan Prather got things rolling for the visitors 15 seconds into the game as he got outside and raced 67 yards to the end zone for the first of his three touchdowns. The Hornets scored the first five times they touched the football. Prather added two more scoring runs of 42 and 11 yards as Hamilton raced to a 21-0 first period lead.
Trevor Dixon followed with two of his four touchdowns on runs of 59 and 25 yards to push the Hornet lead to 35-0. Dixon would end the night with a game-high 210 rushing yards on 20 carries.
Orrick finally got on the board with 4 seconds remaining in the first half as Jones found Aaron Blyth for a 21-yard touchdown pass.
The Hornet defense forced a safety on the first Orrick possession of the second half when the Bearcats were flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone. Dixon then added his final two touchdowns on runs of 24 and 11 yards to push the Hamilton cushion to 51-6.
Orrick’s final score of the season came with Blyth, who ended the night with 80 yards on 9 carries, breaking free for a 73-yard touchdown run, followed by Kalija Rogers’ conversion kick with 6:48 remaining on the clock.
PHOTO: Bearcat senior Kalija Rogers is being tackled by Matt Schieber (36) in first-half action in Monday’s game. (Photo by JoEllen Black/The Daily News)