The Hills-Beaver Creek football team snapped a two-game slide by recording a 48-16 homecoming victory over Alden-Conger Friday in Hills.
After dropping two games with a depleted lineup, the Patriots fielded a team that included all but one of its starters from Week 1 of the regular season.
Not only did the winless Knights match up well with an H-BC team nearly at full strength, they had no answers when it came to stopping the Patriots’ passing game.
Senior quarterback Dylan Gehrke threw for 246 yards and six touchdowns and junior receiver Braden Ellingson hauled in 12 receptions for 110 yards and four touchdowns to lead H-BC to a 32-point victory.
“Having most of our guys back made a big difference,” said Patriot coach Rex Metzger.
“Having Vis (Caleb, a senior tailback who ran for 134 yards Friday) back gave us our power running game. When they tried to pack the box to stop him, we took what they were giving us in our passing game. We turned a lot of short passes into touchdowns.”
H-BC was at its offensive best in the first quarter, when the Patriots turned their first three possessions into a 20-0 lead.
After receiving a short punt on the A-C 23-yard line four plays into the game, H-BC opened the scoring four plays later.
Gehrke tossed a five-yard touchdown pass to Ellingson, and Vis carried in the two-point conversion to give the hosts an 8-0 lead.
Another three-and-out series by the A-C offense resulted in a punt that gave the Patriots the ball on their own 37.
H-BC proceeded to move the ball 63 yards in seven plays with Gehrke tossing another five-yard touchdown pass to Ellingson.
Following another punt by the Knights, the Gehrke-to-Ellingson combination clicked again for an 11-yard touchdown pass that gave the Patriots a 20-0 cushion before the first quarter was complete.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter, when H-BC’s fifth offensive possession of the game ended with Gehrke firing a 65-yard touchdown pass to Carey Taubert to make it a 26-0 contest.
A-C ended H-BC’s 26-point run with a big play late in the second quarter.
Knights’ quarterback Brady Neel fired a 55-yard touchdown pass to Eli Hallman, and Matt Erickson ran in the two-point conversion to trim H-BC’s lead to 18 points (26-8).
The Patriots responded by putting together what Metzger said was their most impressive drive of the 2013 season.
Taking over on their own 37 with 54 seconds remaining in the first half, H-BC moved the ball 63 yards in seven plays.
The march ended with Gehrke firing a seven-yard touchdown strike to Ellingson with no time remaining in the half.
A successful Gehrke-to-Isaac Tilstra conversion pass following the touchdown upped H-BC’s lead to 34-8 at the intermission.
The Patriots iced the win by scoring 14 unanswered points in the third quarter.
H-BC’s opening possession of the second half, a 12-play series, ended with Gehrke throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Taubert.
Vis toted in the ensuing two-point conversion to give the Patriots a 42-8 advantage.
After A-C lost the ball on downs, H-BC’s reserves moved the ball 48 yards in six plays with Zach Scholten hooking up with Cooper Vaughn for a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it a 48-8 contest.
The Knights capped the scoring in the fourth quarter when Neel fired a 56-yard touchdown pass to Colton Opsahl. The Neel-to-Opsahl combination also clicked for the ensuing two-point conversion.
Limiting A-C to 51 rushing yards in the contest was one of the keys to victory for H-BC.
“Our defense played a solid game,” Metzger offered.
“We took their running game away from them and made them try to beat us through the air.”
The 2-2 Patriots play 2-2 Fulda Friday in Fulda.
H-BC: 140 rushing yards, 269 passing yards, 409 total yards, 13 first downs, seven penalties for 45 yards, zero turnovers.
A-C: 51 rushing yards, 171 passing yards, 222 total yards, seven first downs, four penalties for 43 yards, two turnovers.
Rushing: C.Vis 16-134, Gehrke 3-18, Ellingson 1-0, Isaiah Vis 11-minus 17, Scholten 1-5.
Passing: Gehrke 19-31 for 246 yards, Scholten 1-4 for 23 yards.
Receiving: Ellingson 12-110, Taubert 7-136, Vaughn 1-23.
Defense: Gehrke two tackles, Drew Forshey five tackles and one sack, Vaughn two tackles and one interception, Tilstra two tackles, I.Vis two tackles, C.Vis three tackles, Trenton Kracht two tackles, Isaiah Wagenaar four tackles, Logan Leuthold two tackles and one interception, Noah Holthaus five tackles, Dalton Klarenbeek five tackles, Taubert four tackles.