GARY | Two big plays by Boone Grove helped the Wolves improve to 3-0, beating Lew Wallace on Friday night, 42-6.
Neither team could find much of a rhythm through the game's opening quarter and each team had its own circumstances behind the slow starts.
The game marked the first official one of the season for the Hornets. Lew Wallace's first two opponents forfeited their games slowing the Hornets' development.
“We got to work hard this week,” Lew Wallace head coach Alexander Williams said. “We fell apart in the second half. It was our first game so we've got to work hard on Monday. It's tough.”
For Boone Grove, it was a slow week of practice that led to its slow start.
“We had a very slow start,” Boone Grove head coach Tony Tinkel said. “Our week of practice was not the best we had, and it showed in the first quarter.
“We were cocky in practice. I got to admit, but we'll get them back down to Earth and fix it in practice.”
In the second quarter, Boone Grove finally managed to wear down the Hornets. The Wolves scored three times in the first half's final 4:23, putting them in command for the second half.
Boone Grove opened the game's scoring by capitalizing off a huge mistake by the Hornets. The Hornets appeared to have the game's first score thanks to a 77-yard run by Darius Mahome. Instead a costly penalty negated Mahome's run.
Three plays later, the Hornets turned the ball over on downs, setting up the Wolves at the 5-yard line.
They seized the chance as Jake Morris scored on a 1-yard run, his first of two 1-yard touchdown runs, giving the Wolves a 7-0 lead.
Lew Wallace's penalty on Mahome's 77-yard run was an omen. Two turnovers and a lack of execution marked the first half's final minutes, putting the Hornets in a 29-0 halftime deficit.
The Hornets' ensuing drive following Morris' score resulted in a fumble. The Wolves took advantage as quarterback Dean Hill and tailback Cody Poynter connected on a 74-yard touchdown pass, making it 14-0.
Lew Wallace's next offensive series collapsed as Ryan Wolfe intercepted a Quantin Harris pass and returned it 57 yards for the touchdown and the 21-0 lead.
Poynter added his second touchdown with a 2-yard run with 1:34 left in the half. Poynter finished as the game's leading rusher, running for 124 yards on 18 carries.
“We've had a couple of circumstances where we could have hung our heads and folded, and we didn't,” Tinkel said. “We've overcome those obstacles and played our game, and that's been the difference for us now.”
The Wolves' defense held the Hornets scoreless until the game's final play. Harris and Leondre Watson connected on a 75-yard touchdown as time expired to avoid the shutout.
The pass was the lone bright spot in a tough game for the Hornets. The Wolves' defense hounded the Lew Wallace running game, holding it to 11 yards total rushing.
“I saw some good things, but we just made too many mistakes,” Williams said.