The Hillcrest Hornets shrugged off a weather delay and the loss of their starting quarterback in the second half to stay undefeated on the road and beat the Joplin Eagles 33-21 Friday night.
Hillcrest took the lead on its first possession of the game after intense pressure on Joplin’s quarterback Gabe Sachetta by linebackers Jason Hogue and Stanley Murphy forced an Eagle punt.
From the Hillcrest 6 yard-line, Jonah Hill would command a drive that got the Hornets just shy of midfield, where he would option-toss to Juwan Johnson who then ran 69 yards into the Eagles endzone.
Two of the next three possessions, Hill would rush for two touchdowns himself, the latter set up by a big 32 yard pass to wide-out Matt Rush. Hill would leave the game with 141 yards of total offense.
Joplin’s first score of the night came on a broken play where the Hornets defense flushed Sachetta out of the pocket to the right where the senior signal-caller fired a 24 yard pass to well-defended receiver Gavin Jones.
The Eagles were able to make good use of a fumbled Hillcrest punt attempt with Sachetta leaping over both lines to make it a 21-14 game at the half.
On the second Hornets possession in the third quarter, Hill was roughed up and cut near the eye, forcing his exit from the game and prompting senior Micah Liming to go under center at quarterback.
“He did exactly what we needed him to do: make plays when we need to make plays,” Hornets coach John Beckham said of Liming’s performance, with the senior backup contributing 61 total yards and throwing one interception.
Beckham also expressed pride for Darnell Green-Beckham’s 3-yard reception in the second half, noting somberly that next week will be one full year of chemotherapy treatment in his son’s fight against leukemia.
Hillcrest’s training staff expects Hill to return next week, as the Hornets will go on the road to face 2-1 West Plains, while 1-2 Joplin will travel to 1-1 Rolla.
Hillcrest backup QB Micah Liming.