By HDN editor J. Pruitt.
Hillsdale’s offense racked up nearly 600 yards total offense and closed out the home portion of its schedule with a 41-13 pasting of Albion Friday.
The Hornets (3-3 overall, 3-1 SMAA) kept alive their playoffs hopes and an outside chance of being conference co-champions.
As good as the offense was, the defense was even more stellar, limiting Albion to 46 yards rushing and 269 yards of total offense. The Wildcats did not score until Hillsdale was already up 28-0.
Not that they didn’t have their chances early. The Wildcats coughed the ball up twice in the red zone in the first half when the game was still tight.
“The defensive line did a great job,” Hillsdale coach Marc Lemerand said. “They took the inside run out, so the linebackers could step up.”
Lemerand credited defensive coach Jerry Curby and assistants Marc Wilson and Kirk Putnam for developing a great game plan. The defense’s goal was to stop Albion’s Justin Edmonds
“Justin Edmonds is so hard to contain,” Lemerand said. “Every time he carries the ball he can go for a touchdown.”
The defense limited him to minus-1 yard rushing on two carries.
Hillsdale’s offense scored when it wanted to and blew open the game in the third quarter.
“I credit the offensive line,” Lemerand said. “We changed up a few things and the kids took it and ran.”
Hillsdale’s offensive line opened holes for Mike Curby (12 attempts, 143 yards, 1 TD) and Aaron Blanchard (15-140, 2 TDs). The Hornets finished with 432 yards on the ground.
“Aaron ran well and looked good,” Lemerand said. “Our small guys Aaron and Dustin (Moyer) ran the ball hard.”
In the air, Curby finished with seven completions on 15 attempts for 91 yards and a touchdown and one interception.
Drew Byers was the leading receiver with three catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Nick Renieche caught the other scoring toss.
“Nick really helped us, he’s such a positive player,” Lemerand said. “Not only making plays but also on the practice field.
Brock Estel led the defense again with nine solo tackles and a half-sack and two tackles for loss. Justin Reed added seven solo tackles. Justin Walton and Jeremy Herzberg each had a sack.
Hillsdale opened the scoring when Blanchard ran 56 yards for a touchdown with 8:03 left in the first quarter.
Curby scored three minutes later from 21 yards out. He connected with Byers for a 5-yard scoring pass at 0:34 of the half.
In the third quarter, Blanchard ran for a 44-yard score, Dustin Moyer ran for 13 yards, and Curby connected with Renieche for 5 yards and a score.
Hillsdale still needs to work on penalties after being called 14 times for 72 yards.
“We work each week to eliminate penalties,” Lemerand said. “We did jump too much (on defense) that could cost us later in the season.”