By Mike Myers
BOONVILLE — BOONVILLE – A warm and humid evening and a talented Boonville squad turned out to be more than Washington could overcome as the Hatchets dropped their season opener by a 21-0 to the Pioneers at Bennett Field on Friday.
But despite being shut out by Big 8 Conference foe Boonville (1-0, 1-0), coach Kelly Brashear was not unhappy with his Washington (0-1, 0-1) team following the contest.
“I’m not going to say anything bad because 21-0 … they (Boonville) are not world beaters, but they are a pretty darn decent team, and they have 55-60 kids on their roster,”said Brashear. “We have 33 kids and dressed 22 tonight and basically played 14 all night long.
“I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the kids for not quitting, they kept battling,” said Brashear. “We just made a few physical errors to due to fatigue.”
Though the Hatchets were outgained 398-174 and lost by three touchdowns, the contest was closer than those statistics indicate. WHS trailed 14-0 at halftime but could just as easily have been tied 7-7 heading into the locker room.
Boonville scored on its initial possession of the game when quarterback Ryan Nance drove the Pioneers 96 yards in 15 plays. That drive which ended with a six-yard scoring run by Austin Castleman on the first play from scrimmage in the second quarter. Luke Parker’s extra point gave Boonville a 7-0 lead.
Washington drove the ball into Boonville territory on its first possession only to see the drive stall out before getting a 32-yard coffin corner punt from Max Lancaster. The Hatchets’ second possession after the Castleman touchdown also resulted in a punt, but WHS got its first break of the game on the next Boonville possession.
On that possession, Hatchet defensive lineman James Sidebottom recovered a Pioneer fumble at the Boonville 37 with 6:40 left in the half. Runs of 22 and 10 yards by Dalton Devine sandwiched around a four-yard carry by Edrwin Revolorio set up Washington with a first and goal at the Boonville one. But fumbles on the next two Hatchets snaps, with Boonville recovering the latter fumble, snuffed out the WHS scoring chance.
Boonville took advantage as Nance moved the Pioneers downfield, with a five play, 94-yard drive ending with a 15-yard run by Nance to move the Boonville margin to 14-0 less than 3:00 before halftime.
The sequence of the events late in the second quarter changed the complexion of the game according to Brashear.
“That’s what we talked about halftime. We said ‘Listen, it’s 14-0 right now and it should be 7-7,’” said Brashear. “We made that mistake and put the ball on the ground on the six-yard line. I know you can woulda, coulda, shoulda, but had we scored right then, that does something for your momentum, and that could have changed our momentum right there.”
Boonville quickly took a three touchdown on the opening drive of the second half as on the third play from scrimmage, Jacob Newton rambled 54 yards for a touchdown. Parker’s point after put the Pioneers up 21-0 with 10:16 to play in the third quarter.
But the Hatchets didn’t quit, holding Boonville scoreless for the remainder of the second half and putting together their best drive of contest beginning late in the third quarter. Starting from his own 30 with 1:37 left in the period, Lancaster, Washington’s freshman quarterback, moved the Hatchets to the Boonville 17 in 11 plays. A pair of big runs (18 and 16 yards respectively) by Jaden Arvin, who topped the Hatchet ground attack with 76 yards on 15 carries, highlighted the drive.
The drive stalled, however, and Brashear sent in Austin Moody to attempt a 27-yard field goal. Moody’s kick was deflected at the line of scrimmage and fell well short of the end zone, ending the Hatchets’ final scoring opportunity of the night.
Brashear’s goal for the second half was to hold Boonville scoreless and put some points on the board. And though the Hatchets didn’t quite achieve either of those goals, Brashear was pleased with the effort.
“I was proud with the heart they played with, the desire they played with, the will they played with,” said Brashear. “Down 21-0, we’re still battling to put points on the board and to get a stop on defense. You can’t ask anymore than what the kids gave us.”
Devine finished with 65 yards on 10 carries for WHS, followed by 34 yards on nine attempts for Revolorio. Nance paced the Pioneers with 112 yards on 11 carries.
Washington will be on the road this Friday as the Hatchets travel to Evansville Bosse.