Number of players available, or lack thereof, can have an adverse affect on a high school football team. Not so in Hot Springs’ 6-man season opener last Friday night against J.C. Charyk of Hanna, Alberta, Canada.
The Savage Heat had their full-burner offense going, racing to a 22-0 halftime lead en route to a 43-8 victory over the larger, more populated Hawks.
Hot Springs is likely to face more of a challenge this Friday when the Savage Heat travel to White Sulphur Springs for an afternoon divisional game.
The Savage Heat, with only eight players available for the opener compared to 20 for Hanna, appeared to be in mid-season form in several areas. Those include a solid rushing game by junior Luke Waterbury, fundamental blocking and great open-field tackling.
“We’ve been working a lot tackling,” Hot Springs head coach Jim Lawson said. “I wasn’t sure what this team (Hanna) was going to do. It was about fundamentals, do our job and be solid tacklers … You can’t miss tackles in this (6-man) game.”
HOT SPRINGS got on the board midway through the first quarter when Tyler Carr tackled Hawks quarterback Devan Boos in his end zone for a safety. After the free kick, Waterbury capped a 52-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown run.
Freshman Jack McAllister recovered a Hanna fumble on the Hawks’ next possession, and Waterbury raced 44 yards for a score on the next play from scrimmage. Waterbury also had the conversion run.
Late in the second period, Hot Springs pushed its lead to 22-0 when Waterbury dived in from a yard out, and McAllister passed to Bert DeTienne for the conversion.
Freshman Kyle Lawson intercepted a Hawks pass to end the first half.
HANNA GOT on the scoreboard first in the second half, on an eight-yard pass from Boos to Liam McKeage. The two-point conversion kick got the Hawks to within 22-8.
It was all-Savage Heat the rest of the contest. Carr hauled in a pinpoint pass from McAllister to complete a 57-yard scoring play. Later, Waterbury scored on a five-yard run and Carr from three yards out. Hot Springs added conversions after each touchdown.
McAllister was near perfect, completing 12 of 13 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.
“He showed great poise for his first high school game,” coach Lawson said. “He was really solid for us. He made very few mistakes.”
Carr caught seven passes for 122 yards.
Waterbury had 13 carries for 139 yards.
On defense, Waterbury also led the Savage Heat with 11 tackles.
“Blocking was good, too,” Lawson said. “We were giving up a lot of size on our ends. We have to stick with technique, sealing the edges and holes.”
Hot Springs had no turnovers in the game.
THE KNUDSEN brothers – senior Tyler and sophomore Brandon – will play their first game of the season Friday at White Sulphur Springs. Brandon will share time with McAllister at quarterback while Tyler will have carries at running back. Both Knudsen’s play linebacker on defense.
White Sulphur Springs did not have an opening-weekend game, per se, getting a forfeit win over Lima — which did not have enough players for a game.
WSS has a new head coach. “It’ll be a little bit of the unknown,” Lawson said, “but they have a really good team. They won the conference last year and have five starters returning … It’s gonna be a big test for us.”
Game time Friday at White Sulphur Springs is 2:30 p.m.