FRIDAY FOOTBALL: Hickory gets ahead early, beats Foard
Hickory jumped on Foard from the onset and didn't look back, winning its regular season finale at Tigers Field on Friday, 31-6.
The Red Tornadoes scored 22 seconds into the game when running back Cameron Stinson returned a Foard kick 91 yards for a touchdown.
The struggles for the Tigers continued on their ensuing possession.
After getting the ball back and converting a first down, Foard quarterback Erik Ware fumbled on a backwards pass to running Tre Robinson. Hickory's Noah Kelley scooped up the ball and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown. Two minutes into the game, the Red Tornadoes led 12-0.
"We came out and played poorly to begin with," said Foard coach Jason Phelps. "We've had a good season and have gotten better. We just didn't play well tonight. I hate it for these kids, but what can you do?"
Despite getting ahead early, the Red Tornadoes struggled to find offensive continuity, punting once and turning over the ball on downs on their next two possessions.
That all changed on one run. After amassing only eight yards of rushing offense through the game's first 15, Hickory's Shaquan Reid broke free for a 27-yard run. Two plays later, a 20-yard screen pass by Kyle Johnson to Jordan Lockhart scored the first offensive touchdown of the game.
"When you are up two touchdowns and haven't run an offensive play, you get sort of complacent," said Hickory coach John Worley. "I felt like offensively we were complacent early. Then we sort of got into a rhythm there and did a better job. Early, we were complacent because we were up so early."
Foard running back Tre Robinson had a solid first half, rushing 17 times for 80 yards, but the rest of the Tigers rushing attack struggled. Three players were held to negative rushing yards, including -17 by Ware.
"Our defense played good all night long," Worley said. "We know what Tre Robinson can do. He's 'the straw that stirs their drink.' I think we did a pretty good job on him for the most part."
Coming out of halftime with a 25-0 lead, the Red Tornadoes continued to pound the football with Reid. He added 40 yards of rushing offense in the second half and finished the game with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown.
"Offensively, we were good enough to win," Worley said. "It was cold and rainy. We had some balls dropped and stuff like that. I can't say enough about how our defense played."
A bright spot for Foard was Tanner Fleming, who had a great game in his final outing as a Tiger on the football field. He blocked three kicks, including one that was recovered by Kasey Sims in the end zone for Foard's lone score in the game. Fleming also had an impressive 48-yard punt.
"He played his butt off," said Phelps of Fleming's performance. "I thought our defense in general played their butts off. We gave up some big plays here and there, but we scored on defense. They scored two touchdowns before our defense touched the field. I'm proud of them."
Robinson also rushed strong. He ended his Tiger career with 147 yards on 30 carries.
Foard ends its season 2-8 overall and 1-4 in the Northwestern Conference.
Hickory's season continues. The best 3A team in the Northwestern Conference at 7-3-1 and 4-2, the Tornadoes await their fate when playoff brackets are announced during the weekend.
Check back with observernewsonline.com for playoff seedings.