Friday, August 26, 2011

Rockets dominate Hopkins Central 38-6 in opener

For its 2011 debut, Crittenden County's football team turned in a custom-ordered job for coach Al Starnes' start of his 21st season. The Rockets dominated Hopkins Central 38-6, shutting out the Storm until the last second of the National Guard Warrior Bowl in Marion.

Dustin Hernandez takes the handoff and gets some good blocking.
A stellar defensive effort will not go unrewarded, but that coveted zero on the opposing side of the scoreboard disappeared on the last play of the contest when Hopkins Central erased the goose egg with a touchdown pass against the third-team defense.

Otherwise, it was a factory-ordered opening game power-play for the Rockets. Crittenden's offense scored on three of its first four possessions and the defense forced four turnovers that led to 17 points.

"The kids played hard. Our defense got after them and I think we controlled the game up front," said Starnes. "We still have some things we have to work on, but for the first game, I think we played hard."

Senior defensive end Devin Wallace had a big game, recording six solo tackles and three sacks. He also caused a fumble and recovered it.

In his first game as the featured running back, senior Dustin Hernandez scored two touchdowns and ran 179 yards on 14 carries. He showed a stirring burst of speed on a 50-yard score in the second period, outrunning the entire Storm defense.

Hernandez was named MVP of the Warrior Bowl's opening game. Caldwell County beat Union County in the second bowl game on Saturday.

Junior linebacker Grant Gardner illustrated why the coaching staff has been especially high on his play throughout the preseason. He returned a fumble for a touchdown and grabbed an errant punt and raced 20 yards to the end zone with it.

"He has a nose for the football and he's always going to be around it," Starnes said. "Grant was a bright spot."
Grant Gardner (24) has his eye on a second-quarter fumble.

Hernandez, who plays cornerback on defense, intercepted a pass, and the defensive unit threw Hopkins Central for a loss or no gain on a dozen plays. The Storm had just one running play from scrimmage longer than 10 yards.

After leading 35-0 at the half, Crittenden used nearly everyone on the roster to finish up the victory. Backup quarterback Travis Gilbert got in on the action even earlier. He spelled starter Bryce Willis in the second period after Crittenden was up three touchdowns.

Rocket defensive back and running back Bowe Wallace did not play and will be out for at least 30 days with a back injury. The junior will be re-evaluated in a month.

It was the first game of the season for both teams. Crittenden is playing up a division this year in Class 2A while the Storm plays in Class 4A. The Rockets have defeated Hopkins Central three straight seasons in either the first or second game on the schedule. It's the only times the teams have met during the regular season.

Hopkins Central      0     0    0    6
Crittenden County  6    29   3   3

CC-Dustin Hernandez 6 run (kick failed) 6:45, 1st
CC-Grant Gardner 4 run (Bobby Knox pass from Bryce Willis) 11:53, 2nd
CC-Gardner 29 fumble return (Micah Hollamon kick) 11:27, 2nd
CC-Hernadez 50 run (Hollamon kick) 4:33, 2nd
CC-Gardner 20 punt return (Hollamon kick) 2:04, 2nd
CC-Hollamon 28 field goal, 2:57, 3rd
HC-Nick Hopper 13 pass from Josh Utley, :00

First Downs: Crittenden 8, Hopkins 5
Penalties: Crittenden 5-35, Hopkins 4-35
Rushing: Crittenden 39-194, Hopkins 32-39
Passing: Crittenden 4-8-0, 18 yds., Hopkins 5-13-1, 62 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 212, Hopkins 101
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 3-1, Hopkins 5-3

Crittenden-Hernandez 14-179, Brenden Phillips 5-13, Willis 4-12, Gardner 9-3, Noah Dickerson 2-(-5), Zach Tinsley 4-(-7), Jacob Young 1-(-1). Hopkins-Isaac Dunlap 9-41, Esteban Arispe 3-8, Dai Carter 5-(-2), Terrance Ray 3-11, Tyler Medlen 3-(-10), Utley 6-(-3), Jesse Cavanaugh 3-(-6).
Crittenden-Travis Gilbert 3-5-0, 16 yds., Willis 1-3-0, 2 yds. Hopkins-Utley 4-12-1, 45 yds., Cavanaugh 1-1-0, 17 yds.
Crittenden-Gardner 2-8, Jamie Atwell 1-2, Lane Wallace 1-7. Hopkins-Brian Mason 2-25, Carter 1-17, Medlen 1-7, Hopper 1-13.

Asbridge assist; Atwell solo; Bebout solo, assist; Caraway solo; Clark solo, assist; Cozart 4 solos, 2 TFL, sack; Day solo, 2 assists; Dickerson solo, TFL; Dunkerson solo; Evers solo; Gardner 2 solos, 2 assists, fumble recovery; Gaston solo; Gilbert solo; Hernandez 2 solos, assist, interception; Knox 4 solos, assist, sack; Mayes 2 solos, assist; Phillips, 2 solos, 3 assists; Piper 4 solos, 2 assits; Price 2 solos, TFL; Roberts 2 assits; Stone solo, assist; Tinsley solo, assist; Wagoner 2 solos, assist; D.Wallace 6 solos, TFL, 3 sacks, fumble recovery, caused fumble; Willis 3 solos, assist; Young solo.
Pizza Hut Players of the Game: Defense Devin Wallace, Offense Dustin Hernandez, Lineman Stephon Cozart, Special Teams Micah Hollamon.
Records: Crittenden 1-0, Hopkins Central 0-1