MILFORD — It was elimination night Friday night on a brutally cold and windy night at Foran.
Neither Hillhouse or Foran could afford another loss this season if it was to have any chance to qualify for state football playoffs.
With a 28-16 victory Friday night, Hillhouse (6-3) will go into Thanksgiving morning with a slim chance to qualify for the Class L tournament. The Academics will need to beat Wilbur Cross on Thanksgiving morning and get a lot of help to qualify. Hillhouse was 10th in the Class L standings after Friday night’s games. The top eight qualify.
“We did the same thing in 2010 and 2012 winning Thanksgiving games to get to the states,” Hillhouse coach Reggie Lytle said. “You just have to take care of your own business. Hopefully, it will work out again.”
It didn’t take long for Hillhouse to get on the board. Neal Eley took the opening kickoff and raced down the left side to give the Academics a 7-0 lead just 20 seconds into the contest.
“It was big for us,” Lytle said. “We wanted to get out early and set the tone with the weather conditions the way they were. We wanted to kill their spirits early.”
“Speed kills and it always does,” said Foran coach Jeff Bevino, whose Lions fell to 4-5 with the loss and were eliminated from Class M contention. “The kid bobbled it and a couple of our kids thought the play was over. He ran 51 yards sideways and another 65 the other way. It took the air out of our bubble.”
Quintus Reid, back at quarterback for Hillhouse this week, added a three-yard run with 6:21 left in the second quarter to make it 14-0.
Hillhouse tacked on another touchdown before the first half ended as Reid connected with Terron Mallory on a 29-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 at intermission.
The Academics increased their lead to 28-0 with 8:39 left in the third quarter when Reid connected with J.T. Gardner for a 44-yard touchdown pass.
“They are big, fast and well coached,” Bevino said. “When you get down to a team like that there’s nothing you can do. The kids kept fighting, though.”
Foran finally got on the board twice in the fourth quarter. Jared Hubler connected with Victor Rios for a 22-yard touchdown with seven minutes to play. Hubler connected with Matt Kennedy for the two-point conversion pass to make it 28-8.
With the starters out, Andrew Janik threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Zach Cleary. Huber ran in the two-point conversion try with 3:42 to close out the scoring.
Shameen Brown led Hillhouse with 20 carries for 129 yards rushing. Reed, who completed his first eight passes of the night, was 8-for-10 for 134 yards passing. Hubler was 9-for-15 for 128 yards passing for Foran.