HURRICANE — Hurricane High School head football coach Chris Homer started putting his second string in near the end of the second quarter. That is how bad things went for American Leadership Academy Friday evening in its first playoff game in school history. The Tigers romped to a 74-7 victory.
Going against the wind in the first half, the Eagles could practically do nothing right, especially on special teams, as Hurricane started its first three drives in ALA territory. The Tigers took full advantage of the Eagles' miscues, running for seven touchdowns in the first half, including four by senior running back Jacob Pugh, to take a 48-0 halftime lead.
"A lot of things went well early for us," Homer said. "It was good for our psyche."
One of the many things that went right for the Tigers was the play of their offensive lineman. According to senior running back Jacob Stout the Hurricane line created the holes and all the Tiger running backs had to do was run.
After a disappointing 27-20 loss to Region 9 rival Desert Hills in its last regular season game, Homer said the team did some soul searching and wanted to send a message to its doubters.
"It's a nice win" especially after last week," Stout added.
Homer admitted that it was nice to rest his starters so early.
"It was good to get our underclassmen and backup seniors in," he said. "It was fun to watch them play."
The one bright spot for ALA came with 5:56 left in the third quarter when quarterback Hunter Morley connected with Marcus Monsen for an 18-yard touchdown reception. The Eagles reached the Hurricane four-yard line halfway through the fourth quarter, but ended up turning it over on downs in their quest for a second touchdown.
Despite his team's blowout win, Homer complimented ALA on its toughness after the game.
"They did well with what they had," he said.
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ALA head coach Dave Lewis said he was proud of the way his players never gave up against the Tigers. He said he has seen a lot of progress from his team this year, but says it needs to increase its "football IQ," its strength, and its numbers in order to do better next year. Hurricane is a team ALA must emulate in order to improve, he concluded.
Hurricane faces Morgan in the second round of the playoffs next week, a team it defeated 26-9 in the 3A semifinals last year.
Homer and his squad are expecting a tough battle in that tilt. "They're scary," he said of the Trojans. "We know that they're good and they're consistent in what they do."