DELTA — Hurricane's players solemnly trudged off the field.
Their coach looked like he'd just been through a 12-round prize fight.
By any reasonable estimation, the top-ranked Tigers looked nothing like a team that had just won by double-digits.
But that's what the Delta Rabbits will do to you.
Despite being shut out 20-0 in the first half, Delta's players kept fighting and fighting in the second half, and they made things incredibly difficult for Hurricane.
In the end, the Tigers emerged with a 20-8 victory, but as they meekly walked off the field, all they could do was look at Delta and wonder.
Despite having almost all of the empirical advantages — from size to strength to speed — Hurricane had an incredibly tough time against the Rabbits, who, despite being one of 3A's smallest schools, perennially have one of the classification's toughest football programs.
They were certainly tough in the second half against Hurricane.
"They are so tough," said Hurricane coach Chris Homer. "We were bigger, probably stronger (and) probably faster, and they just handled us for a full half. They get a lot of credit.
"Luckily we were able to slow them down enough so they couldn't score more than they did. I thought they controlled the second half. We controlled the first half — we just scored more times."
Homer's synopsis was right on.
Hurricane running back Robert Reeve caught a 26-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and Jarom Healey added a pair of touchdown runs in the second quarter to put the Tigers comfortably ahead, 20-0, at halftime.
Hurricane played quite well on both sides of the ball throughout the first half, but it was a totally different story in the second half.
Delta didn't score its only points — a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Colin Christensen — until there were less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Hurricane never had control of the game after halftime.
"I think we just dropped the ball," said Reeve. "We just didn't come out mentally prepared in the second half."
Homer talked at length with his players afterward about using the game as a learning experience, and Healey echoed those sentiments.
"We just lost momentum. We came out soft — most of us thought the game was over — and it took all the intensity away from us," said Healey. "It shows we have a lot to do on Monday and come back to work."
All in all, it certainly helped Hurricane to have Healey and Reeve, who shined on Friday in the Tigers' backfield.
Healey finished with 90 yards and two TDs and Reeve added 69 yards.
"They're tough — so hard to stop, maybe even when the blocking's not perfect they can really make things happen," Homer said of his running back duo. "Those two are pretty amazing."
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