MOROCCO | Rensselaer was determined to get its passing game going in Friday’s first-round sectional game at North Newton.
Despite misfiring on his first four passes, Rensselaer senior quarterback Hunter Hickman dissected Dick Gilbert Field for rest of the game. He completed 5-of-11 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-13 Rensselaer victory over North Newton.
“We got our passing game going, and I think that helped our run,” Hickman said. “Basically, our offensive line played real well I thought, dominated up front, which helped us out.”
When Hickman found Braden Mattocks on an 18-yard scoring play, it put the Bombers (5-5) ahead 33-7 to put the game out of reach with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
“We’re very motivated right now,” Hickman said. “It’s basically a new start for us, and we’re rejuvenated right now and playing real well.”
The Bombers will play Bowman Academy next Friday in a semifinal game.
“I thought our kids played well,” Rensselaer coach Chris Meeks said. “I thought we were very balanced offensively and defensively. I like the way we ran the ball today, and I felt our passing game was there anytime we wanted it because of the running game.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bombers got untracked, scoring three touchdowns to take a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Hickman connected with Braden Mattocks for a 33-yard scoring strike for a 6-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The TD capped a crisp seven-play, 79-yard drive.
A bad punt gave the Bombers the ball in excellent field position at the North Newton 26-yard line. Brad Boget ran in from the 5 two plays later for a 13-0 Bombers lead.
Hickman completed the TD blitz when he hooked up with speedster Ryan Lattimore for a 70-yard scoring pass and the 20-0 bulge at the break.
“It was wet conditions, so our main objective was when that ball goes up, get it, squeeze it tight and hold onto it,” Lattimore said.
North Newton moved the ball at times in the first half, but special team woes hampered its efforts to get anything going.
“Hickman threw a couple real nice balls,” North Newton coach Pat Brown said. “He hit us with a couple times with straight streaks down the sideline, and we’ve got to be in position to make those plays.”
Chad Schultz finished with 127 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Spartans (4-6).