McLouth erupts for eight touchdowns against Horton
Joel Gill was the big-play receiver for McLouth on Friday against Horton.
Although Gill had just three catches, he racked up 125 yards -- including a 64-yard bomb from quarterback Jimmy Steffey.
Gill's catches were just a few of several highlights for the Bulldogs in the season opener for both schools. McLouth routed Horton, 51-0, to start the season 1-0. The win marked the largest margin of victory for a McLouth team since the 1978 squad defeated Jefferson County North, 64-0.
Although McLouth's passing game was good against Horton, its ground game was better. The Bulldogs amassed 568 yards of total offense -- 357 of which came on the ground.
Senior Kevin Stewart, who ran for more than 1,000 yards last year, got off to a good start this season. He rushed for 204 yards on 14 carries against the Chargers. He scored five of McLouth's eight touchdowns and his longest gain of the night was 50 yards.
Horton defenders targeted Stewart throughout the evening. When the Chargers were able to stop Stewart on the ground, the Bulldogs went to the air.
"If people are going to key on him, we've got some weapons to make them pay," Hester said.
That's a key that Gill hopes will continue throughout the season -- a balanced offense that keeps defenses guessing.
"It's good to have that happen," Gill said.
"I think Jimmy Steffey was throwing the ball pretty well."
Although Steffey's arm and Gill's hands were big contributors Friday night, Gill's leg was a different story.
The senior, who also is the team's place-kicker, had just one of his five extra point attempts sail through the uprights -- barely.
"I didn't know whether it was going to go through," Gill said.
The ball just cleared the crossbar, but Gill should be given some slack. He just started practicing for the position the night before.
McLouth's offense was at center-stage Friday, but the defense held its own as well as the Bulldogs held the Chargers scoreless. In addition, Andrew Booth scored on a 67-yard interception return.
MHS had plenty to celebrate Friday, but Hester still knows the Bulldogs have plenty to work on for this week's game at Wathena, including penalties. The Bulldogs were flagged eight times for 70 yards.
But a win is a win, which is becoming more common at McLouth. In 2003, Hester's first year at MHS, the Bulldogs went 0-9, extending a losing streak that reached 20 games before the Bulldogs won last year's season opener at Horton.
That first year, with a team full of sophomores, the Bulldogs were more likely to be on the losing end of a 51-0 rout. Hester said he empathized with Horton because the Chargers now have a young squad.
Two years ago, Stewart was one of those sophomores on a young and inexperienced squad.
Now, Stewart and his fellow seniors enjoy some games far more than they used to.
"It feels great, but at the same time, you kind of feel for those guys," Stewart said, referring to Horton. "It's kind of a cycle."
The Bulldogs will look to go 2-0 when they travel Friday to Wathena. The Wildcats enter the game at 0-1 after losing to Jackson Heights, 20-0, last week. Kickoff for the DVL game will be 7 p.m.
Score by quarters
Horton (0-1, 0-1) 0 0 0 0 -- 0
McLouth (1-0, 1-0) 12 20 13 6 -- 51
How they scored
MHS -- Kevin Stewart 19 run (kick failed)
MHS -- Andrew Booth, 62 interception return (kick failed)
MHS -- Trevor Keling 38 pass from Jimmy Steffey (Stewart pass from Steffey)
MHS -- Stewart 12 run (run failed)
MHS -- Stewart 6 run (kick failed)
MHS -- Stewart 5 run (Joel Gill kick)
MHS -- Stewart 12 run (pass failed)
MHS -- Skeeter Kingsolver 2 run (kick failed)
Delaware Valley League Standings
Pleasant Ridge 1-0
Doniphan West 1-0
Jackson Heights 1-0
Valley Falls 0-1
Jeff. Co. North 0-1