By Mike Myers
WASHINGTON — The Washington Hatchet football team honored its seniors before Friday’s game at Hatchet Hollow.
But once the game began, it was the Jasper Wildcats who did the honors.
Class 4A No. 6 Jasper (7-1, 4-1) relied on the arm of quarterback Nolan Ahrens as the Wildcats claimed a 58-7 Big 8 Conference win over Washington (0-8, 0-6).
Ahrens threw for 157 yards on 13-23 passing and a pair of touchdowns in the first half, including completions to eight different Wildcat receivers. Jasper also added a pair of touchdown runs from Nick Hale and a scoring run by Ian Songer. The Wildcats also picked up a 22-yard field goal from Cal Krueger as Jasper led 21-0 after one quarter of play and 37-0 at halftime. Ahrens hooked up with Philip Huebschman and Landon Jeffers for a pair of 16-yard touchdown completions late in the half.
But while the Wildcats piled up some lofty offensive numbers (360 yards from scrimmage), the powerful Jasper offense had to work for everything it got against a Hatchet defense which put on of its better performances of the season.
“I’m more proud of our kids than I have been all year,” said Hatchet coach Kelly Brashear following the contest. “We played hard, we played aggressive. We played better defense, believe it or not, than we have all year. They got some easy ones in the second half because of the same old story, we were just worn out, but we made them work for points for the most part in the first half.”
With his own team nearing the end of a difficult season, Brashear was happy with how the Hatchets faced the always tough Wildcats.
“I told them after the game ‘This his how I’ve been waiting for you guys to play all year,’” said Brashear. “They played together, they had smiles on their faces, they had fun tonight. I thought the execution was there, sometimes you just get beat by a better team, and that was the situation tonight.”
Jasper picked up three touchdowns in the second half, including a 30-yard punt return by Austin Alles, a nine-yard run by Hale, and a six-yard run by Connor Giesler. Hale finished with 89 yards on 15 carries, while Ahrens’ first half stats were his final tallies as the Wildcats didn’t attempt a pass after halftime.
Washington had some success moving the ball in the first half as the Hatchets picked up five first downs, and Washington sustained its opening drive into Jasper territory. Jaden Arvin picked up 55 yards on 14 carries, including runs of 18 and 12 yards respectively for WHS. But a botched punt attempt, an interception, and 0-3 on fourth down in the opening 24 minutes set up the already potent Jasper offense with good field position multiple times.
Washington got on the board early in the fourth quarter when Arvin, who led all rushers with 90 yards on 23 attempts, ran in from two yards out with 10:24 left in the game to make the score 51-7.
After Arvin, Edrwin Revolorio added 47 yards on 13 carries while Dalton Devine added 15 yards on three attempts. Quarterback Jake Brashear completed 5-11 for 54 yards, with Arvin hauling two passes for 29 yards, with Tyler Guy, Tyler Summers, and Luke Thornton each catching a Brashear pass.
The Hatchets, who conclude the regular season with a trip to North Knox this Friday, saw Travis Harper and Daniel Davis go down with knee injuries in the contest. The severity of both injuries was unknown following the game.
Friday’s game was the final regular season home game for 12 Hatchet seniors; Arvin, Brashear, Dillon Brower, Russell Brown, Devine, Clayton Johnson, Zachary King, Eric Long, Revolorio, Jeffrey Riggle, James Sidebottom, and Summers.
It’s a senior class that has had a long association with Hatchet football according to their coach.
“Most of them have been with us all four years of high school. A lot of them have been with us all six years of middle school and high school, and there are some that have been playing football since third grade,” said Brashear. “Before the game I talked to the team about how much I appreciate these seniors personally as a head coach and how much we appreciate as a coaching staff the years of dedication that they have put in. For a lot of these kids, they have played football for more than half of their lives. Football is a tough game, and that says a lot about their character.”