Hornets’ offense shreds Orioles, 33-6
The Colby Hornets traveled to Stanley-Boyd to take on the Orioles for the last regular season game of the year, and last game as a member of the Cloverbelt Conference on Friday. The Hornets were victorious by a score of 33-6, giving Colby sole possession of second place in the conference with a record of 7-1 and 7-2 overall.
Colby head coach Jim Hagen stated “Stanley-Boyd is always a tough team, and a tough place to play, but on this windy night we played well on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, we limited their pass game to only 88 yards and only gave up one score. Offensively, we showed a great deal of diversity by having two running backs rush for over 100 yards and we passed for over 150 yards.”
The Hornets opened up the game by receiving the opening kick-off, and got a nice return from sophomore Brent Jeske for 27 yards, giving Colby the ball at their own 37-yard line. On the second play, senior running Tyler Klement went around the left side on a sweep, went untouched, and outran all defenders for a 73-yard touchdown run.
Senior Harley Schmelzer kicked the PAT, and Colby took an early 7-0 lead with 11:31 left in the first quarter. The Orioles took over possession but were forced to punt after just three plays.
Colby took over possession at their own five yard line, and were forced to punt also and after three plays, setting up excellent field position for the Orioles at Colby’s own 35-yard line.
The Orioles went on an extended drive that ended when senior defensive back Gavino Lopez went high into the air and intercepted a pass on Colby’s own 10yard line.
Hagen stated “As a defense, we worked hard on defending that particular pass pattern all week long, and Gavino jumped it just like in practice, and made a heck of an interception.”
Despite a 20-yard run from Klement, the Hornets were forced to punt, but the Oriole’s returner fumbled the punt and senior Noah Robida was there to pounce on the ball, giving the Hornets excellent field position at Stanley-Boyd’s 46-yard line. Klement had a nice 16-yard run on this possession, but Colby couldn’t capitalize on the good field position, and failed to convert on fourth down.
Stanley-Boyd took over at their own 30yard line, and went on a twelve play drive and scored on a run from eight yards out. The the two-point conversion failed, preserving Colby’s 7-6 lead with 9:16 left in the second quarter.
Hagen stated “This particular drive we just didn’t have an answer for the Orioles as they kept us off balance with the run and pass, and we couldn’t stop them on fourth down.”
The Hornets started their next possession on their own 42-yard line, and two big plays helped put Colby in scoring position. Lopez had a 30-yard run on a well blocked counter, and senior quarterback Roman Schmitt hit senior wide receiver Harley Schmelzer in stride on a post pattern for a 20-yard gain putting the Hornets at the eight-yard line.
Klement capped off the drive with an eight yard touchdown rush. Schmelzer kicked the PAT, giving the Hornets a 14-6 lead with 6:54 left in the second quarter.
Both teams struggled to move the ball effectively on their next few possessions, and Stanley-Boyd missed a long field goal.
The turning point in the game was late in the second quarter, when the Hornets stopped the Orioles on fourth down at Stanley-Boyd’s 42-yard line with just fifteen seconds left in the half.
On the next play, Schmitt threw an absolute strike to junior running back Joe Hawthorne, who got behind the Oriole defenders for a 42-yard touchdown pass with just nine seconds left before halftime. The PAT was good by Schmelzer and Colby took a 21-6 lead into the half.
Hagen stated “That pass by Schmitt was an absolute laser to Hawthorne, and the pass protection was excellent and that score gave us a little cushion going into the second half.”
Stanley-Boyd started the second half by taking possession at their own 15-yard line and the Hornets forced a punt after three plays. Colby started with excellent field position at the Orioles 42-yard line and it didn’t take long for the Hornets to find the end zone.
On the first play, Lopez took a hand-off and with a huge hold opened by the offensive line, he bolted on a 39-yard run to the Oriole’s four yard line. Klement capped off his third touchdown of the night with a four yard run, but the PAT failed giving Colby a 27-6 lead with 9:58 left in the third.
Stanley-Boyd took over at their own 20-yard line and went on a fourteen play drive. However, the Hornets forced a fumble deep in their own territory and junior defensive back Mason Schmutzler jumped on the football, stopping the long Oriole drive.
Both teams were forced to punt and the Hornets took over at their own 35-yard line. The drive turned into a Colby aerial attack with Schmitt hooking up with Robida on plays of 13-yards and 32-yards. That was followed by a touchdown strike to Hawthorne from 21-yards out for his second TD of the night. The PAT failed once again but now Colby had a comfortable 33-6 lead with :01 seconds left in the third quarter.
Hagen stated “Offensive coordinator Robbie Smazal did a nice job utilizing and taking advantage of the wind behind our backs to open up the offense right before the end of the third quarter.”
The fourth quarter featured three punts and a fumble. Highlights included a diving interception by Lopez, his second of the night, and a seven yard sack at the end of the fourth by sophomore defensive end Andrew Jeske.
Colby finished the night with 403 total yards, with 234 yards rushing and 169 yards passing. Klement led the rushing attack with 18 carries for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Lopez finished with 13 carries for 106 yards.
Schmitt had a great night with eight completions on only ten attempts for 169 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Hawthorne had two catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Robida had two catches for 45 yards. Stanley-Boyd had 229 total yards, with 141 yards rushing and 88 yards passing.
Hagen stated “This win is a good way to end the regular season. Winning the last two games of the season will hopefully give us some good momentum going into the play-offs.
“It has been a good season so far, and I want to compliment the players and coaching staff for finishing second in the always tough Cloverbelt Conference.”
Colby received the fifth seed, and will travel to Cumberland on Friday, Oct. 25, in a first round play-off matchup.