It was old-fashioned, smash-mouth football Friday at Hug when the Hawks hosted Reno in a High Desert League game.
Both teams looked to control time of possession, pound the ball on offense, and rely on their defenses, but that played right into the hands of the Huskies, who scored a 24-0 win.
Hug (1-5 overall, 0-2 HDL) came out on its first possession and did exactly what it wanted to. The Hawks drove for over eight minutes, got into Reno (5-2, 1-1) territory and were looking to start the game with the kind of drive that can put a team back on its heels.
“I’ve been concerned all week,” Reno coach Dan Avansino said about the early stages. “Our biggest opponent right now is ourselves. Hug came ready to play, and we didn’t, and that’s what that first drive was all about.”
But the Hawks were stopped by penalties, mistakes and a stingy Husky defense, which pushed the Hug offense backwards enough to force a punt. It was the sort of scene that would be repeated throughout the night.
“We moved the ball,” Hug coach Carl LaGrone said. “We just got on their side and we got a lot of penalties. We shot ourselves in the foot. It’s just a few mental things that we’ve got to work on and get better as a team.”
And while Hug was able to put some solid drives together, it was the Reno defense that made all the plays when it had to. The Huskies forced three punts, four turnovers-on-downs, and got a fumble and an interception. The Huskies’ defense allowed just 143 yards of total offense in a game that featured many time-consuming drives.
Despite the shutout and the win, Avansino wasn’t pleased with Hug’s sustained drives and its ability to move the ball into Reno territory.
“We’re not happy with any phase of our football game,” Avansino said. “If we want to continue our season and make the playoffs and achieve the goals of our season, then we have a long ways to go.”
Offensively, Reno was lead by senior running back Cameron Daugherty’s 96 rushing yards, one touchdown and three receptions for 29 yards. But he, too, echoed Avansino’s sentiments about the team’s performance.
“We’ve got to learn to play at our own level and keep the intensity up,” Daugherty said. “We’ve got to work on our consistency, work on ourselves and not worry about the other team.”