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Turbulent times: Hornets fall to 0-2 for first time in over a decade



Written by Hillsdale Daily News editor Jim Pruitt

The Hillsdale football program is off to its worst start since 1998 after falling 55-13 to Hastings Friday.

The game resembled the Hornets season opener against Hudson in some regards, as the Saxons controlled the line of scrimmage and rolled up nearly 300 yards on the ground in the first half.

As is the case with most losses, this one can also be traced to turnovers and penalties.

Sophomore Travis Hodos got the start at quarterback and while he had his moments, he also threw four interceptions, two in the end zone. His first pick, however, was a tipped ball.

The Hornets also lost a fumble and were flagged six times for 50 yards.

“We are not playing very good football right now,” Hillsdale coach Marc Lemerand said.

The game started out as if Hillsdale had learned its lesson from Week 1’s 40-26 loss to the Tigers. They stopped the Saxons on their first possession and were driving at the Hastings 38-yard line when Hodos’ pass bounced off the receiver’s chest and into the hands of Hastings defender Jon Gieseler.

Gieseler returned it to the Hillsdale 9-yard line and Dewey Slaughter punched it in from the 2 for the opening score.

After a three-and-out by Hillsdale, the Saxons drove 49 yards in four plays to go up 14-0.

Hillsdale got on the board on its next possession going 48 yards in five plays. The key play was a 45-yard bomb from Hodos to Byers that got the ball to the 1.

From there it was all Hastings. The Saxons scored on their next four possessions, two set up by interceptions, for a 42-6 halftime lead.

“We can’t turn the ball over when we are not executing,” Lemerand said. “We are giving the other team a short field.”

Dan Vear took over signal-calling for the Hornets in the second half, leading them to one score.

Hastings finished with 511 total yards to Hillsdale’s 363. The Saxons had 420 yards rushing compared to the Hornets’ 192.

Hodos led the ground game with 71 yards on 11 carries. Vear ended up with 61 yards rushing in eight attempts.

Hodos was 9-of-20 for 118 yards with a TD pass and the four picks, while Vear was 6-for-10 for 53 yards.

Drew Byers caught six passes for 85 yards and a score.

Sonny McCoy led the Hornets defense with 10 solo tackles and five assists. Brian Vear had 9 solo tackles and 7 assists.

Alex Randal led all rushers with 172 yards and three touchdowns for Hastings.

Hillsdale will now venture into the SMAA conference season at 0-2 for the first time since 1998.

Lemerand said his will be working on cutting down his team’s mistakes.

He will also focus on getting the seniors on defense to play like veterans.

“We are playing like we’re young,” Lemerand said.

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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