The Hoxie Indians imposed their will early and came away with a 54-14 win over the St. Paul Indians Saturday in the Eight-Man Division I State Championship football game at Fischer Field.
Hoxie senior Latham Schwarz had 34 carries for 200 yards with four touchdowns to lead the team. Jared Kennedy passed for 145 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two touchdowns. Taylor Burris had three catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
“My line is amazing,” Schwarz said. “They get a push every play. They move guys left and right. They give me holes, and once I beat one or two people, that makes it easy. Once we get our run game going and they bring six or seven guys up to the line, that just opens up our pass game. That’s what they were doing and we were able to find open receivers. That’s what they were doing. We started doing deep routes and Jared put it right on the money.”
“That’s kind of the way we are,” Hoxie coach Lance Baar said. “We’re a run-heavy team. We don’t rush the game at all. We just want to control it. That’s what we want to do. If we can keep the other offense off the field as much as we can, with our linemen and run game, we can play well. Our defense played well.
For St. Paul, 11-2, Braven Born hit three of 11 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Adam Albertini hit three of seven passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Albertini was held to 24 yards rushing. Born was injured early in the third quarter and never returned.
“We tried everything. We threw everything at them,” St. Paul coach Keith Wiatrak said. “We tried to plug the B gap. We tried to bounce them outside. We couldn’t stop them and we couldn’t slow them down. They have a great football team. We had to run a trick play to score. That’s never a good thing. When you have to run a trick play in the first half, you’re struggling. … Our kids fought hard. Sometimes it’s hard to overcome pure size in football.”
Outside of a drive killing penalty and a lost fumble just short of their own goal line, it was all Hoxie in the first half.
Hoxie opened the game with a long drive, scoring on a two-yard Christopher Cox run. The two-point conversion run was stopped short.
After a long St. Paul drive stalled, Hoxie mounted a long drive in the second quarter that ended on a 12-yard Schwarz run. Schwarz ran in the two-point conversion. Most of the drive was Schwarz taking the ball out of the wildcat formation.
Hoxie had a chance to put the game away, but fumbled the ball on their own one. Three plays later, Born hit a 75-yard pass to Collin Carlson. Born hit Brenden Doherty for the two-point conversion.
It took Hoxie just a couple of plays to strike back as Kennedy hit a 48-yard pass to Taylor Burris. Hoxie capped off the half with a two-yard Schwarz run.
Hoxie scored on its first two possessions of the second half. Kennedy threw a pass for a two-point conversion on the first score. After a St. Paul defensive stop, Hoxie scored on a 52-yard pass from Kennedy to Taylor Burris. St. Paul scored three plays later on a 55-yd. pass from Albertini to Doherty.
Hoxie came right back with a 46-yard Swartz run with 5:41 to play. Zach Sherman snagged an interception for Hoxie with 2:17 to play. Hoxie was able to run out the clock for its first-ever state title. Hoxie ends the season 12-0.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Baar said. “The last three or four weeks have been kind of unreal. I’m kind of letting this sink in. The last week was amazing. This team, our seniors, our past players, have worked really hard for this. Hoxie, as a town, as a community, has waited for this long enough. This was our time.”
“I’ve been with this group since they were freshman,” Wiatrak said. “They were my first class when I got here. We wanted to do great things for them. We didn’t finish the way we wanted, but we played 13 football games, and only two teams get to do that.”
1q. H Cox 2-yd. run (run failed) 7:38
2q. H Schwarz 12-yd. run (Schwarz run) 8:23
2q. SP Carlson 75-yd. pass from Born (Doherty pass from Born) 4:53
2q. H Ta.Burris 48-yd. pass from J.Kennedy (run failed) 4:22
2q. H Schwarz 2-yd. run (Schwarz run) 3:30
3q. H Schwarz 1-yd. run (Schippers pass from J.Kenenedy) 9:16
3q. H J.Kennedy 14-yd. run (run failed) 7:22
4q. H Ta.Burris 52-yd. pass from J.Kennedy (run failed) 8:56
4q. SP Doherty 55-yd. pass from Albertini (run failed) 7:32
4q. H Swartz 46-yd. run (run failed) 5:41
RUSHING — Hoxie: Schwarz 34-200, Cox 9-32, Tr.Burris 5-20, J.Kennedy 3-30. Weems 1-4. St. Paul: Born 6-(-5), Culver 4-9, Abertini 13-24, Hess 1-(-9), K.Kennedy 4-15, Hutcherson 2-3, Doherty 1-18.
PASSING — Hoxie: J.Kennedy 5-8-0, 145 yards. St. Paul: Born 3-11-0, 90 yards; Albertini 3-7-1, 68 yards.
RECEIVING — Hoxie: Schwarz 1-9, Ta.Burris 3-112, Schippers 1-24. St. Paul: K.Kennedy 1-(-3), Doherty 3-70, Spielbusch 1-16, Carlson 1-75.
Missed field goals — none.