BOX ELDER -- The Huron football team missed out on a couple of scores in the first quarter Friday night in the season opener against Douglas. That was the only time they missed.
The Tigers scored 24 answered points in the second quarter and rolled past the Patriots 45-7 at Patriot Stadium.
Huron dominated the Patriots despite not being able to get into the end zone early. It proved to be just a matter of time, though, as junior quarterback Jett McGirr ran for 73 yards and one score and threw one touchdown pass as the Tigers took advantage of Douglas mistakes and poor field position.
“Our offensive line did a phenomenal job in this game,” McGirr said. “It all starts with them. As a team we played great together. It was a good win.”
Huron coach Michael Schmitz said it wasn’t a perfect game by his team, but it did enough things well to control action.
“We did a good job up front and Jett made some good decisions,” said Schmitz. “We have things to improve on; everybody says that. We had a couple of turnovers and missed blocks. We will try to improve for next week.”
It was a tough opener for the Patriots, who barely had positive yardage in the game.
“We got a character check tonight and we did not pass,” Douglas coach Dan Maciejczak said. “We were tired; we were out of shape feeling sorry for ourselves. Credit to Huron, they came out here and hit us in the face and played football.”
Douglas quarterbacks were sacked four times for a minus 61 yards. The Douglas offense had just four first downs.
“Offensively we didn’t look good at all,” Maciejczak said. “Our O-line is making excuses why they can’t block people; our running backs are making excuses. We have to fix a bunch of excuses and learn how to play football, I guess.”
Of the six Huron touchdown drives, none started in its own territory and four scoring drives were less than 30 yards.
“Our defense did a great job of keeping them on their side of the field,” McGirr said. “We had really good field position. Our defense should get a lot of accredit.
Travis Kleinsasser got Huron on the board on a 23-yard field goal, and the Tigers took control with three touchdowns set up on good field position.
On 4th and 11, McGirr connected with Kobe Busch on a 36-yard TD pass. In the first period Busch appeared to have a big interception return for a score, but he was stripped of the football inside the 5-yard line and Douglas recovered in the end zone.
Earlier in the first, McGirr lost six yards on 4th and 4 from the Douglas 9-yard line.
The Patriots had a chance of their own to get back in the game, but missed on two long pass connections from quarterback Trevor Severson to wide receiver Noah Vinson. On the first attempt, Severson overthrew a wide open Vinson on the Huron 40-yard line. The Pats went right back to the play and Vinson was open again, but he dropped the pass at about the same spot.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty then moved the ball back 15 yards and after a short punt, Huron took over on the Douglas 35.
“Not only do we drop the next one, we slam our helmet on the ground and lose 15 yards ofd of that,” Maciejczak said. “It’s a test of my coaching, I guess. It will never happen again.”
Two plays later, McGirr scored on a 41-yard keeper for a 17-0 lead with 4:56 to play in the opening half.
The Patriots went backwards on two straight quarterback sacks and Huron took advantage with a four-play, 26-yard TD drive as Alex Hill went in from 10 yards out.
Douglas had just two yards of total offense on the first half, to 165 for the Tigers.
The Patriots got a rare break when Seth Dikoff picked up a fumble and ran it back 26 yards to the 24-yard line. Three plays later senior quarterback Daniel Hand found Dylan Pourier in the right corner of the end zone for a 23-yard TD pass.
But that was it for Douglas.
After a Hill pic-six was nullified on a penalty, the Tigers scored on a 7-yard touchdown run by Walker Schiltz with 11:38 remaining in the game for a 31-7 lead.
Douglas added to its big lead on a four-play, 26-yard touchdown drive, capped by an 11-yard run by Chipper Shillingstad and the Tigers closed the scoring late on a 10-yard touchdown run by Landon Hegg.
Huron finished with 248 yards rushing and McGirr was 4-of-9 passing for 59 yards.
Douglas looks to bounce back next Friday when it hosts Sturgis in a Black Hills Conference matchup.
“When Sturgis gets the game film, they are going to be licking their chops ready to play us, because I don’t think we have lost to them in about five or six years,” Maciejczak said. “If I was Sturgis, I’d be coming in here ready to play football and excited. We better get things figured out or else it is going to be ugly the rest of the season.”