Hettinger/Scranton off to best start since 2012
The Night Hawks hosted the Central McLean Cougars Friday night.
It’s only the second week of the season and the Hettinger/Scranton football team is already on pace to have it’s best season since 2016.
It was another close finish in Hettinger, but the Night Hawks held on for a 20-14 victory over Central McLean, starting the season 2-0 for the first time since 2012.
The Cougars had the ball late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game, but back-to-back fumbled snaps forced them into a 4th and 21 with the game on the line.
Needing a big stop, the Hettinger/Scranton team and coaches asked for an extra boost from the crowd as they looked to the stands, encouraging their fans to get loud to help them defeat the Cougars for the first time since 2005.
Not having much success in the passing game all night, Central McLean called a screen pass, but Hettinger/Scranton snuffed it out and forced the turnover on downs.
They were able to run out the clock in victory formation as they doubled their win total from a season ago.
“It’s all on our seniors, we have a heck of a core and a really good group of juniors,” Hettinger/Scranton head coach Jason LeFebre said.
Running back Connor Andress gave the Night Hawks the lead in the fourth quarter with a long touchdown run, making it 18-14 before the two-point attempt.
Hettinger/Scranton failed to convert their two previous attempts, but this was the most important one as a successful try would still keep them in the game if they allowed another touchdown.
The ensuing two-point try was good and gave the defense the boost it needed to close out the game.
“We said at the beginning of the year we’re going to hang our hat on defense,” LeFebre said. “We’re that kind of team. Slow you down, grind it out, run the ball down your throat. We got two running backs that pound it up the gut and outside. They start wearing you down and we hit hard. We take pride in breaking teams down.”
Running back Tristan Pekas had the other two scores for the Night Hawks, both on the ground. One came from two yards out in the first quarter and the other from nine yards out in the third quarter.
Pekas gave Hettinger/Scranton the lead in the first quarter 6-0, but Central McLean responded in the second with their running back Easton Frey scoring on the ground as well. They couldn’t convert their two-point attempt as well so it remained 6-6 going into halftime.
The second half began the same way, with Pekas giving the Night Hawks the lead, and Frey responding. But this time the Cougars converted their two-point conversion and took the lead 14-12.
Andress’ score came with roughly seven minutes to go as the Night Hawk defense were able to secure the victory
It was all smiles from LeFebre postgame when he addressed his team as he collected his third career win as Hettinger/Scranton head coach to begin his third season.
It hasn’t been the best of times for the Night Hawks lately, having not won more than two games in a season since 2016.
Pairing this 2-0 start with a solid group of returning players, the fortunes may be turning for Hettinger/Scranton football.
“To their credit, the guys before them never quit on long seasons,” LeFebre said. “They gave everyone their best. It might not show on the scoreboard but now we have guys that are two, three year starters, we even have a four year starter on the squad. It’s the dividends that are paying off for the long years of work.”
The Night Hawks will look to continue their momentum on the road at South Border next Friday night, who also won their first two games.
CM 0 6 8 0 14
HS 6 0 6 8 20
HS - Pekas two yard run (two-point attempt unsuccessful) 6-0
CM - Frey run (two-point attempt failed) 6-6
HS - Pekas nine yard run (two-point attempt unsuccessful) 12-6
CM - Frey run (two-point attempt successful) 14-12
HS - Andress run (two-point attempt successful) 20-14