SEDALIA - It took some time for Hickman’s offense to wake up, but it finally happened, and quick too.
The Kewpies opened Friday’s contest against Smith-Cotton with a 53 second touchdown drive. It was set up by a 40-yard kick return by Travis Weston and was finished with a quarterback sneak by Jevean Brown at the Tigers’ 1-yard line.
The quick strike was a sign of things to come, as Hickman piled it on through the air and on the ground, defeating Smith-Cotton 40-6 .
The drive started with the return of senior running back Felix Pippenger. He gained first downs on two straight plays and totaled 48 of 49 possible yards on the Kewpies' opening possession.
"(Pippenger) is what our offense has been missing," Hickman head coach Cedric Alvis said.
Pippenger totaled 122 yards on 15 carries. His return to the team changed how the Kewpies played, as they looked like two completely different teams when he was off the field.
Brown was responsible for four of Hickman's six touchdowns, two of which came through the air. He threw his first passing touchdown of the season after connecting with a wide open TJ Turner in the end zone in the first quarter.
Brown also showcased his brilliance on defense, intercepting Smith-Cotton quarterback Brett Grupe twice. Both interceptions came when Hickman forced Grupe's hand by making him scramble out of the pocket near the end zone.
The Kewpie defense played a perfect game, limiting the rushing attack of Christian Finley and Cameron Finley and killing any momentum Smith-Cotton built after gaining a first down.
The defense found themselves in Smith-Cotton's backfield constantly throughout the contest. Numerous times they stuffed the running back at the line of scrimmage and forced Grupe to scramble out of the pocket and make a play using his feet.
The plays when Grupe had time to throw, he connected, but those plays were called back due penalties by Smith-Cotton's offensive line. Although Hickman played a huge role in stomping out any momentum the Tigers built, the penalties forced Smith-Cotton to play with poor field position.
"The defense was really, really good tonight. They were flying around the field," Smith-Cotton head coach Charlie McFail said. "Hickman just played great football and they were a step ahead of us the whole time."
Despite how well Hickman’s offense played, it could’ve added more points in the half. Brown overthrew Devin Turner and Talin Kemp, both of which if completed, would’ve ended in touchdowns.
But Brown capitalized on his next chance in the third quarter, as he didn’t miss Devin Turner open in the corner of the end zone for Brown's second touchdown of the day.
While the throws were incomplete, it’s inspiring for Hickman to see that these long, explosive plays are possible. This is what head coach Cedric Alvis was waiting for and he couldn't have gotten it at a better time.
Even though Hickman lost its shutout on the last play of a game on an 80-yard run from Smith-Cotton running back PJ Allred, it played a complete game for the first time this season.
Hickman's next match-up is at 7 p.m. on Friday against rival Rock Bridge at home.