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Hoxie routs Rawlins Co. for playoff spot

Published on -10/26/2012, 10:16 AM

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HOXIE -- Despite a first half where the Hoxie High School offensive and defensive lines dominated the game, the Indians found themselves up just 16-8 at halftime against visiting Atwood-Rawlins County on Thursday night in Eight-Man Division I, District 8 play.

But, a few minor changes at the intermission for the Indians' secondary proved to be the big difference in what turned out to be a 54-8 rout for Hoxie. The win sent the Indians to their first playoff appearance since switching to the eight-man ranks in 2010.

"These last two weeks were going to be huge," said Hoxie senior running back/defensive back Mathew Heim. "Last year, Quinter beat us out for that spot in the playoffs, and these past two weeks, we've come out and played good football -- the best we've played in a quite a long time."

That was especially true in the second half against a Rawlins Co. team that was undefeated two weeks ago. Despite the solid performance on the line and an eventually 16-0 lead, the Buffaloes (7-2) were able to find success on a few trick plays and throwing the ball up to 6-foot-3 junior tight end James Patterson.

Up 16-0, Hoxie had Rawlins Co. in a third-and-33 situation, but junior quarterback Dylan Tiemeyer threw a ball in the flat to junior running back Michael Capo, who tossed it deep down the right side to Peterson for a 35-yard gain. The Buffs capitalized with their only score to narrow the gap to 16-8.

"We mainly focused on the run, and they came out and threw on us on a couple of those formations," Hoxie coach Lance Baar said. "We had a little bit of confusion on who we were supposed to pick out."

Rawlins County's only significant success in the first half came in the passing game. In addition to the 35-yarder, Tiemeyer connected on three other deep balls (17, 16 and 26) to three different receivers, including Peterson.

Hoxie (7-2), fueled by a big night on the ground (306 yards), took advantage of a failed fourth-down conversion by the Buffs near the goal line in the first quarter, and responded with a 75-yard drive capped by a 36-yard run by Heim, when he took a direct snap around the right end for an 8-0 lead.

"That was a play we just put in this week," said senior lineman Brandon Salmans. "He followed that block just perfect, put the wheels on and got in the end zone."

Still, the telling stat was Hoxie's defense in the second half. Rawlins Co. had passed for 95 yards before the break, but the passing game was nearly non-existent in the second.

"We knew they were going to try and go to (Peterson)," said Heim, one of Hoxie's three defensive backs, along with juniors Chase Kennedy and Connor Katt. "We just had to take a couple steps back, play a little loose on the jump ball."

Tiemeyer completed just one pass after the break -- a 17-yarder to sophomore Macrae Migchelbrink -- on seven attempts with one interception.

"We knew they would try and throw the fades and maybe try to get down the seams a little bit," Baar said. "We practiced it all week. We taught the kids how to play it. It wasn't exactly the same.

"We were in good position, but once they got the feel for it the first couple of times, they really did a good job."

Hoxie, offensively, couldn't be stopped. Katt took the opening play of the second half 65 yards for a score after cutting back through the middle on a toss -- the first of five second-half rushing touchdowns for the Indians. The final came on a 10-yard run by Kennedy to end the game via the mercy rule with a little more than six minutes left in the game. The Indians have won three straight since a 38-6 loss to Ness City, the top-ranked team in the statewide media poll. It was Ness City's closest game of the season.

Heim ended the game with 115 yards on 14 carries, while Katt added 102 on 10 touches. The Buffs, who lost their last two games in district by a combined 102-8, finished with 194 total yards on 52 plays with no running play longer than 18 yards. Hoxie's defense had five tackles for loss with one sack by Salmans.

"We did a lot more stunts this week," Salmans said. "We wanted to surprise them with some different things and it worked out."

The win earned Hoxie the runner-up spot as the Indians will travel to Jetmore-Hodgeman Co. (8-1) on Tuesday in the first round.

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