- It's official. The Hornell Red Raiders are back on top.
After an impressive 22-20 win over Bath-Haverling last week on Homecoming,
the Red Raiders remained unbeaten Friday night with a huge 42-0 road
win over LeRoy, playing the role of Homecoming spoilers.
Hornell was absolutely dominant on both sides of the ball Friday night,
and the Red Raiders big-time players stepped up in a big-time way.
Jack Henby, after a somewhat off night against Bath, returned to form
in a devastating way. Henby took 16 carries for 228 yards and four
touchdowns. He also pulled in a pass for 10 yards.
"It felt great. Although I did do well, and I feel like I did,
my line did a great job tonight of opening up those holes and making
lanes. I felt really confident behind them tonight," said Henby.
"So their work is really appreciated."
"People sometimes forget that Jack Henby spent a full season
playing wide receiver. Even when he was younger, he was a wide receiver.
This is his first full season as a tailback, and it does take a few
games to understand things like how to hit a hole and how to develop
vision," said HHS coach Erik Werner. "I was very happy to
see the night that Jack had, and it's telling me that things are starting
to click. So I'm very happy about that."
The Red Raiders opened up the scoring on their first drive of the
game when Henby ran in a 35-yard touchdown just two and a half minutes
into the game. The extra point made it an early 7-0 lead for Hornell.
But that was all Hornell would muster in the way of scoring for most
of the first half, as the LeRoy defense was able to stop Hornell on
a fourth down and force a turnover deep in its own territory to keep
Hornell off the board.
Like it's been all year, however, the Red Raider defense was dominant,
and they were able to turn the tide with a big play late in the first
half. With just under six minutes in the half, Tyler Green picked
off a Josh Laurie pass on the Oatkan Knights' 34-yard line.
That turnover resulted in a score just a few moments later, when Henby
scored his second touchdown of the night with a 20-yard TD dash. An
onside kick after the score gave the Red Raiders the ball back with
just under four minutes in the half. Hornell marched down the field
and Henby finished the drive with a three-yard score, giving the Red
Raiders a 21-0 halftime lead.
"It was really important when the tides turned. It's not really
adversity, but once we get the momentum and the tide turns our way,
we can really get going and come together as a team," said Henby.
Hornell came out of the locker room with just as much aggression,
scoring on its first offensive play from scrimmage. Henby took an
option pitch and ran 54-yards for a touchdown to give the Red Raiders
a 28-0 lead just two and half minutes into the second half.
And while the lead was very comfortable at that point, the Hornell
defense simply wouldn't relent. In the game, the Oatkan Knights generated
just 97 yards passing and -14 yards on the ground, good for just 83
yards of offense in the game.
"There are plays where we just blow everything up and the other
team won't get any yards. I can't help but just scream. It's just
me and my friends out there," said Henby.
"That's how we practice. We are teaching angles and pursuit.
We're teaching toughness and a little bit of attitude. These kids
really feed off of that, and they know that defense should be that
energy-booster," said Werner.
Hornell was just the bigger, faster and stronger team Friday night,
and it showed as the Hornell backfield continually plowed over LeRoy
defenders. Henby was able to run a few defenders over, but the most
intimidating runner was Hunter Babcock.
Babcock only tallied 40 yards on 11 carries, but each one of his runs
undoubtedly left bruises on a LeRoy defender. Babcock looked like
Leonard Fournette on a few carries, needing three or four defenders
to bring him to the ground.
With running backs that plow defenders over and a defense that allows
just 83 yards against them, it was clear that Hornell was simply more
physical than LeRoy Friday night.
"From the first series, I was very impressed with how our offensive
line fired off the ball," said Werner. "Defensively, as
we've done all season, I thought we were very physical and very fast.
Again, at the beginning of the season, we wanted our offensive line
and defense to be two of our major strengths, and tonight was the
first time where it really came together on both sides."
The Hornell first-stringers added one last score in the game, as a
Weyand-to-Weyand connection made the game all-but over. Jake Weyand
found brother Spencer Weyand for a 35-yard touchdown strike to make
the score 35-0 with 3:32 left in the third quarter.
After that, Hornell began to flex some depth by emptying the bench.
Jake Weyand even got to sit out the last few offensive plays, as he
handed the reigns over to younger brother Spencer, who took the Red
Raiders second unit on one last scoring drive.
With just 4:36 left in the game, Weyand led an eight-play, 45-yard
drive that was capped by a three-yard Ben Pollinger touchdown run
to make the score 42-0.
With the win, Hornell improves to 4-0 for the first time since 2012.
And now it has proven that it can not only compete with and defeat
the top teams in Livingston County Division One, but it also has the
focus and talent to handily defeat teams with lesser talent.