Heading into last Friday's game against the Park Wolfpack, head coach Dana Strain said that it would be a challenge to contain Park's high-octane offense. Well, it proved to be too much for the Raiders as Park ran away with the game early and won by a final of 43-14.
Hastings was outgained by the Wolfpack by almost 200 total yards and gave up numerous big plays, several of them for scores. With the loss, Hastings falls to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the newly created Suburban Maroon sub-district.
"You have to give a lot of credit to them (Park), they are very athletic, across the board really, and then in a few key spots they hurt us with their athleticism," Strain said. "If we see them again, which is distinct possibility in the playoffs, I think we'll be better for having played them once. We'll have a better sense of how dynamic they can be and we'll have to do a better job of limiting their space more than we did on Friday night."
Hastings fell behind Park quickly 14-0 in the first four minutes of the game. Park scored on two big plays, a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Grant Glazier to Charlie Gorres, and a 55-yard touchdown run by Uriah Davis. However, the Raiders answered with a 29-yard touchdown run by junior running back Trey Petrich to cut Park's lead to 14-7. Park closed the first quarter with another big play score, this time a 72-yard touchdown pass from Glazier to Edmond Nkwain as time expired to give the Wolfpack a 21-7 lead.
"We got down 14-0 and it certainly looked like it could get away (from them) early in a hurry and I'll give our kids a ton of credit and our coaches credit, we hung in there, stuck to the game plan and we ended up getting it back to 14-7 with the football," Strain said. "We had a big run across midfield but ended up with a penalty on that play. Looking back at it, we had it 14-7 with the ball and an opportunity to continue chipping away. We didn't end up converting then with the penalty and it ended up going 21-7. We still had it at 21-7 with the ball and just weren't able to convert. We just have to be better. We ran the ball very well against them, but at some key moments early when we needed to be at our best we didn't put together the type of drive we would need. We simply can't get down 24-7 at half."
Park added a field goal in the second quarter to take a 24-7 lead into halftime. They then blew the game open in the third quarter with two more touchdowns, receiving and rushing scores by Davis, but the extra points failed and Hastings trailed 36-7 going into the fourth quarter.
Senior quarterback Trey Rogers added a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 36-14. However, Park answered with a Glazier 12-yard touchdown run to take a 43-14 lead, which was the final.
One adjustment the Raiders made following the loss to Hill-Murray was to bolster their kicking game after struggling with it against the Pioneers. Senior Joshua Lewanski, an all-state forward for the boys' soccer team, has joined the football team as its kicker and made two extra points during last week's game.
"We were very pleased with how that played out and he (Lewanski) was a nice addition for us," Strain said. "We feel good about it. He had some success on Friday night, doesn't mean it's going to happen each night, we're going to have to keep working on it, but we felt good about having a clean game there."
Hastings managed just 244 total yards, almost all of which came on the ground. Rogers completed three-of-five passes for 26 yards. The Raiders ran for 218 yards on 48 carries by seven rushers. Petrich led Hastings with 80 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. All three of the Raiders' receptions came from sophomore wide receiver Jackson Kirchoff.
Hastings hosts the the Simley Spartans on Friday, Sept. 22.