Pats fire on all cylinders in win over Marksmen

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
Heritage Hills' Cole Sigler juked Tell City's Hunter Beckort and ran for a touchdown during the third quarter of Friday's game against Tell City in Lincoln City. The Patriots cruised to a 49-0 shutout victory over the Marksmen to improve to 2-0 on the young season. For more photos from the game, click here.

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

LINCOLN CITY — There’s a freight train sound effect that plays at Heritage Hills’ stadium which sounds off every time they score, a way of letting the other teams and fans know what’s coming as gridiron contests are held in Big Blue Country.

And last night everyone got an earful as the Patriots (2-0, 1-0) defeated the Tell City Marksmen to the tune of 49-0.

Pats Coach Todd Wilkerson felt that his team started a bit sluggish against Tell City, but explained that it took the team some time to get accustomed to the Marksmen strategy, which involved slowing the game down with their rushing attack. However, once they adjusted they were able to get in a rhythm and make their mark on the game.

“I was very pleased with the way they came out the second half and got things rolling,” he said.

That’s not to say the first half was a total walk in the twilight zone for Heritage Hills, especially on the defensive end. Tell City (0-2, 0-1) received the ball to start the game, but quickly put up a three-and-out set of downs after the Patriots stuffed all their runs. The only blemish in the series came a block in the back penalty on the punt return that forced Heritage Hills to start their drive from their 31 yard line.

Senior running back Cade Jones set the tempo early with a 14 yard scramble to get the Pats a first down on their first play from scrimmage. And from their the combination of Jones, junior fullback Jacob Wetzel, senior running back Kyndell Carter, and junior quarterback Cole Sigler methodically marched down the field.

The Pats would strike in chunks ranging from three yards to the 12 yard scamper Sigler reeled off to get the Pats in scoring position. Three plays later he carried it in from three yards out to give Heritage Hills a 6-0 lead with under three minutes left in the first quarter (senior kicker Carson Leibering’s first PAT missed just short.)

Tell City showed a bit of fight in their next possession, starting with a 16 yard kickoff return by senior running back Devon Blake. They even moved the ball on the first two plays from scrimmage before a false start penalty on third and short threw a wrench in the machine.

On the next play, senior quarterback Dustin Hunt went to the air to try and keep the chains moving, but Sigler went up for the ball and pulled down an interception. However, he was called for a defensive pass interference penalty, which wiped out the pick and kept the Marksmen drive alive after the ref marched down the ten yards for the infraction. But it wouldn’t make a difference, as Hunt would be picked three plays later at the start of the second quarter.

The next Pats drive started with three of their first four plays going for over 10 yards on the ground. Then the running back stable once again took turns totin’ the rock before Wetzel rushed it in from three yards out for the second touchdown for Heritage Hills. But this time on the point-after play, the team faked a kick and Jones connected with senior tight end Dakoda Ebert for a two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.

Heritage Hill's Gavin Vaal sung along with AC/DC's "TNT" in the locker room before Friday's game against Tell City in Lincoln City. "I just love rock "n" roll, man," said Vaal, who recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the victory. For more photos from the game, click here.

After a touchback on the kickoff Tell City tried once again on offense. And once again they were not able to get anything significant going. They didn’t help themselves with a false start penalty that costs them 15 yards. Shortly after junior punter Hunter Sodrel kicked it away to transfer possession.

But this time things did not go so smoothly for the Pats during their drive. After an 11-yard run from Sigler, the QB missed on a pass attempt to junior running back Gavin Vaal, and the following carry from Wetzel was erased with an illegal procedure penalty. They managed to string together a few more positive plays before an offsides penalty had the Pats looking at third and nine. They tried to catch Tell City sleeping with a flea flicker from Jones (who started at QB most of last season), but he was picked off by Sodrel just outside of the endzone.

Tell City once again could not cash in on the opportunity and, after going three and out Heritage Hills ran a couple more plays before going into halftime with a two-score lead.

The second half was more of the same for Heritage Hills, as they scored on four of their five offensive possessions over the final twenty four minutes of play. Sigler and Jones broke off runs of 11 and 24 yards respectively to put up a couple of touchdowns in the third quarter. Sigler also hooked up with Ebert for an airmail connection which put Heritage Hills ahead 35-0.

The defense even got in on the action after Tell City sophomore running back Hunter Beckort fumbled and Vaal recovered the ball for a 27 yard scoop-and-score scamper. The final score came from sophomore QB Jacob Schmidt, who found a seam and then the end zone 22 yards later.

Tell City coach Aaron Clements said his boys gave a good effort in the first half, but the game took its toll on them in the second half and led to a demoralised team and effort on the field.

“When we played the first half, I thought we showed what we could do,” he said. “We’re not a bad team, but we had some quit in the second half. I thought when things went wrong we started to quit. Offensively we have to figure some things out. Things just aren’t going the way they’re supposed to be going.”

Heritage Hills finished with 342 yards of total offense and held Tell City to 89. Sigler was 2-7 for 22 yards and one touchdown passing, while gaining 88 yards and two touchdowns on 10 rushes. Jones and Wetzel had 60 and 58 yards rushing respectively and each scored a touchdown. Ebert had one catch for 17 yards and a score.

“I thought our defense came out and did what we needed to do,” said Sigler. “Our goal was a shutout and less than 100 yards. Offensively we didn’t quite do all things we wanted to do, especially throwing the ball. But that second half we just kind of blew up.”

There’s not much to complain about with a 2-0 start in which the team scores over 40 points in each win, but Wilkerson, as all coaches do, still wants his players to keep their nose to the grindstone as they go back to watch film to see where improvements can still be made. But at this early stage, he knows the Patriots are far from the finished product that they could become by the time all the games are played across the season.

“I think at this stage you just try to get better every week,” he said. “You just clean up the mistakes you had the week prior. You try to add some wrinkles here and there to get better.”




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