Hassan Haskins once again ran wild and Chris Stewart was wicked in the passing game as the Eureka Wildcats rolled into Francis Howell Friday night and succeeded in ruining the Vikings home opener.
The Wildcats raced to a 33-22 victory over Howell in the first meeting since the two teams met in 1977.
Eureka (2-0) got to celebrate vigorously with their fans on the visitors side as the Wildcats handed Howell their first home loss since CBC took down the Vikings in October 2013.
“It feels good, it feels real good to come here and do this,” Haskins. “I’m just proud of everybody. We did our job worked hard all summer and it’s paying off.”
The Wildcats had simply too much firepower for Howell and new coach Cory Snyder, who was coaching his first home opener for the Vikings.
Haskins ran for 144 yards and a touchdown. Stewart had 168 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
“That’s my boy,” Haskins said of Stewart. “He sure did his job and I’m going to thank him later.”
Eureka quarterback Michael Orso also was smooth behind the Wildcats young offensive line as he threw for 236 yards and a touchdown.
“Their quarterback did a great job distributing the ball and throwing it,” Snyder said. “Across the board they did an excellent job tonight. They were well-coached.”
The offense clicked for Eureka but the Wildcats weren’t afraid to pull a few tricks out of the bag when needed.
Eureka ran a fake field goal on fourth down to start the second quarter hit paydirt off a direct-snap 14 yard run by Adam Fuqua up the middle to make it 10-0.
Five minutes later, Haskins and Stewart hooked up on a halfback pass for a 31-yard score that was started by a pass from Orso to Haskins, making it 17-0 with 7:07 left in the second quarter.
Howell (1-1) had a strong answer, as Vikings senior quarterback McGuire Dean led them into the Eureka red zone. Junior running back Jack Flynn finished off the march with a 8-yard scoring run.
The Vikings pulled within 17-9 at the half thanks to a 28-yard Jackson Florea field goal after Eureka botched a punt snap on its previous series.
“It was a battle here against a quality opponent and we knew it was going to be a back and forth game and it was a great game,” Eureka coach Jacob Sumner said.
The Vikings showed plenty of grit as they pulled within 20-15 on a Dean to Daylon Dalton 27-yard touchdown toss with 7:28 left in the third quarter.
Eureka came roaring back with a pair of touchdowns to pull away in the final quarter.
Defense was strong for the Wildcats as well. Baylor Talcott led the way with nine tackles, while Norrim Holder and Cade Seymour had seven tackles each
“Our defense did a great job of keeping a quality offense under control and we’ve got some great guys on that side of the ball,” Sumner said.
Still, there were some bright spots for Howell as Dean threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for a team-leading 62 yards in spite of being sacked four times.
Junior wideout Jonny Krone hauled in eight balls for 129 yards. Punter Jake Thomas averaged 44.3 yards per punt ion six punts with his long being a 67-yarder.
“Jake Thomas did a great job punting,” Snyder said. “Eureka really forced us to throw the ball and McGuire and Johnny needed to have a big game for us to hang in. We missed some things here and there but they did a good job.”