Erickson, Kristy lead Night Hawks’ 4th-quarter comeback to beat Center-StantonThe Hettinger-Scranton football team wasn’t going to win without big plays down the stretch.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Hettinger-Scranton football team wasn’t going to win without big plays down the stretch.
So the Night Hawks looked upon their two big playmakers — junior quarterback Kye Erickson and senior tight end Stephen Kristy.
“Making the plays on offense just powered our defense,” Erickson said. “We were getting exciting and getting our hopes up. We realized that we can do this.”
The duo came through in fine fashion, contributing to three touchdowns in the fourth quarter en route to defeating Center-Stanton 40-32 during a 9-man, Region 4 game on Saturday night at the Badlands Activities Center.
“We’ve got guys that can play,” Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick said. “I’m proud of the kids. They gutted it out.
“In years past, we would have said enough is enough and folded up the tent. These guys are different.”
Hettinger-Scranton found themselves down 32-18 just over a minute into the fourth quarter.
That’s when its defense buckled down and its passing game went into full effect.
Erickson’s main target was the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Kristy. Erickson was 7 of 15 for 178 yards and all three of his passing touchdowns fell into the hands of Kristy. The senior tight end grabbed five passes for 114 yards.
Center-Stanton’s Ty Lee returned a punt 58 yards for a TD to put the Wildcats up 32-18 just 64 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Night Hawks responded quickly after that, scoring on three consecutive drives.
Erickson found Kristy for a 44-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage after Lee’s return.
“I always have confidence in Stephen,” Erickson said. “He usually pulls through when we need him to. He’s always making the sure catches.”
The quarterback capped another drive on a 1-yard TD run with 8:23 remaining and tied the game with a two-point conversion pass to Hayden Sadowsky.
Kristy’s 11-yard touchdown pass from Erickson put the Night Hawks up for good with 3:28 remaining. Sadowsky and Erickson hooked up again on ensuing the two-point conversation.
Kristy and Erickson said a sense of urgency kicked in when the team was down by 16 points.
“We were absolutely concerned,” Kristy said. “It was very stressful.”
Not only was Erickson lethal through the air, but deadly on the ground. He had 74 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
Center-Stanton wasn’t able to produce any offensive points after Lee’s return.
Jordan Hoffman led the Wildcats with 27 carries for 186 yards and two touchdowns. The senior running back also caught a 47-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
“Jordan Hoffman is a good runner, he’s got good speed,” Center-Stanton head coach Brett Eckert said. “More importantly, our offensive line did a good job. They are the ones that make the holes for him.”
Despite, Center-Stanton having only 14 players listed on its roster Eckert said they expect to be prepared for every game. That showed during the first game of the season, a 36-30 loss to Mott-Regent.
“We’ve got to be able to hold on to a lead when we get it,” Eckert said. “You have to keep pushing on, even if you are up, you play like you are down. We don’t have many guys, but they have to be ready to go.”
Burwick said the game was a confidence builder for the Night Hawks and should bode well for the Kristy and Erickson in the games to come.
“Kye was able to settle down,” Burwick said. “He can be a gunslinger. He can throw and I hope this game builds his confidence a little more.”
CS 8 12 6 6 — 32
HS 6 6 6 22 — 40
CS–Logan Staigle 1 run (Matt Gonzalez run good), 3:49.
HS–Chandler Miller fumble recovery (Kye Erickson run no good), 1:49.
CM–Jordan Hoffman 5 run (pass failed).
CM–Hoffman 47 pass from Staigle (run failed).
HS–Stephen Kristy 15 pass from Erickson (run no good).
HS–Erickson 1 run (pass failed), 4:32.
CS–Hoffman 50 run (run failed), :13.
CS–Ty Lee 58 punt return (pass failed), 10:55.
HS–Kristy 44 pass from Erickson (pass failed), 10:46.
HS–Erickson 1 run (Hayden Sadowsky pass from Erickson), 8:23.
HS–Kristy 11 pass from Erickson (Sadowsky pass from Erickson), 3:28.
RUSHING: CS, Jordan Hoffmann 27-186, Henke 1-2. HS, Kye Erickson 24-74, Chandler Miller 1-2, Tanner Sanford 3-3, Christian Hughes 6-8.
PASSING: CS, Staigle 6-12-0, 92. HS, Erickson 7-15-0, 178.
RECEIVING: CS, Henke 3-41, Hoffman 2-45, Johnson 1-6. HS, Stephen Kristy 5-114, Brandon Hill 1-43.