By Wade Linville –
Week one on the gridiron resulted in a win for the Fayetteville-Perry Rockets, but a loss for the Western Brown Broncos.
The Rockets ventured to Manchester to face the home standing Greyhounds in their first game of the season, coming away with a 20-12 victory to start off their season 1-0.
Fayetteville’s freshman running back Hunter Jester took 35 carries for 269 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Rockets’ week one win.
The Western Brown Broncos were on the road at Hillsboro to kick off their 2017 season, suffering a 55-34 loss.
It was a slow start for the Broncos that led to their loss to the Indians to kick off the season on Friday. The home standing Indians took the opening kickoff for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead just 14 seconds into the game and never looked back.
Another Hillsboro touchdown off a run to the right side lifted the Indians to a 14-0 lead with 8:05 to go in the first quarter.
The Bronco offense worked efficiently, starting their next drive at their own 37 yard line and scoring a touchdown off three completed passes by junior quarterback Josh Taylor, along with a pass interference call on the Indians.
The Broncos started off their quick drive to pay dirt with an 11-yard completion from Taylor to senior Wyatt Fischer. The Broncos would lose two yards as sophomore receiver Keegan Collins was taken down behind the line of scrimmage after hauling in a pass, but what followed was a pass interference penalty on the next play that moved the Broncos to the Hillsboro 40 yard line. From there, it was Taylor connecting with Josh Fry for a 40-yard touchdown with 6:59 to go in the first period.
The Bronco touchdown sliced the Hillsboro lead to 14-7.
With neither team able to reach pay dirt again before the first period came to an end, it was the Indians leading by seven entering the second quarter of play.
With 10:58 to go in the second quarter, it was the Indians topping off a drive with a two-yard touchdown run to leave the Broncos trailing 21-7.
The Indians upped their lead to 28-7, scoring another touchdown with 2:58 to go in the second quarter, but first-half scoring wasn’t quite over yet for the Hillsboro squad. They would reach pay dirt once again with 38.1 seconds remaining in the second quarter off a 25-yard pass to expand their lead to 35-7.
Facing a 28-point deficit going into the second half, it was a more intense crew of Broncos coming out in the second half.
The Broncos capped off their first drive of the second half with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Taylor to freshman Will Sizer, and with a successful kick for the extra point by senior Lane Sexton, the Broncos had cut the Hillsboro lead to 35-14 with 9:17 to go in the third quarter.
Struggles continued for the Western Brown defensive team in the second half as they attempted time and time again to stifle the Indians’ running game. The Indians were able to finish off a drive late in the third quarter with a 17-yard touchdown to lift them to a 42-14 lead.
The Bronco offense, needing to put up quick points to remain in the game, trimmed the Hillsboro lead to 42-21 as Fischer took a pass from Taylor for a 72-yard touchdown with three minutes to go in the third period.
The Indians reached the end zone once more in the third quarter to leave the Broncos trailing 48-21 entering the fourth period of play.
The Bronco offense worked quickly in their next possession with Taylor completing a pass to Fry for a 13-yard gain, and later finishing off the drive with a pass to Collins for a 21-yard touchdown. Following the successful kick for the extra point, the Broncos trailed 48-28 with 11:35 to go in the fourth.
The Indians continued to rely on their running game in the fourth quarter while burning time off the clock, scoring another touchdown off an eight-yard carry with just over six minutes to go in the fourth quarter to expand their lead to 55-28, en route to a 21-point victory.
“A couple of concerns were the special teams and letting their offense stay on the field for too long,” Western Brown head football coach, Don Sizer, said of the season opener. “I thought the offense did a great job. I thought we played hard. There were some things we could have done more sound, knowing our assignments and responsibilities, but they did not give up. They played hard until the end.”
For more on week one of high school football, pick up the Aug. 31 edition of The News Democrat on store shelves now.