HADDAM >> Woody Hayes would have been proud.
The late Ohio State coach, a believer in the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense, would have enjoyed Haddam-Killingworth’s 49-32 win over the SMSA/University/Classical cooperative of Hartford Saturday night at H-K High.
That’s because H-K ran 69 plays from scrimmage, every one of them on the ground, to the tune of 428 yards. The grind-it-out Cougars led all the way, despite SMSA’s balanced attack that produced 176 yards on the ground and 151 in the air.
H-K was relentless and the Tiger-Hawks were helpless to stop the Cougars’ running game as Jake Frith had 184 yards on 24 carries, Tobey Callender had 141 yards on 25 carries and Kevin Dougherty added 97 yards on 19 tries. Quarterback Cody Ellex got his name in the stat book by rushing for six yards on one carry.
“We’ll throw sometime,” said H-K coach Mike Baklik. “But we didn’t need to throw tonight.”
H-K was opportunistic, too. The Cougars turned an early SMSA fumble into a touchdown as they scored on a mini-drive of 30 yards with Frith running it in from 10 yard away to give H-K a 6-0 lead with 8:56 to play in the first.
SMSA fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and this time it took only 25 yards to score, with Dougherty going over from a yard out. With Dougherty’s conversion run, H-K led 14-0.
An interception started the winners’ next TD drive, a 4-play, 25-yard drive that ended with Callender scoring from five yards out and although the conversion run failed, H-K turned three turnovers into scores and was breezing at 20-0 after one.
SMSA made it a bit more entertaining when it scored on a 50-yard run by Josh McLeggan to cut the lead to 20-6, and made it much more interesting when an H-K fumble led to a 15-yard TD run by quarterback Devin Hill. That cut the lead to 20-12.
But the Cougars staged a down-your-throat, nine-play, 72-yard drive that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown from Dougherty with three seconds left in the half. That gave H-K a 28-12 lead and the Cougars weren’t threatened after that.
“I thought we played well,” said Baklik. “We have to pay attention to detail, and I think we did. We capitalized on their mistakes and for most of the game we protected the football pretty well. I thought we were pretty disciplined.”
In the second half, H-K added a 20-yard TD from Frith, a 4-yard score from Callender and another 2-yard touchdown from Callender, all of which offset two TDs by McLeggon (10 carries, 142 yards), one from six yards out and the second from 35 yards away. The Tiger-Hawks finished the scoring with a 12-yard pass from Hill (10-for-24, 151) to Hayden Jordan with 57 seconds left in the game.
“I thought we did a decent job in putting up the points we did tonight,” said Baklik.
With nary a pass.