WHEATFIELD | They say it isn't over until the fat lady sings. Well, she started crooning during the first drive at Fred Jones Field on Friday night. And the ditty didn't stop in the Class 4A Sectional 10 opener.
Hobart took the opening kickoff and did to Kankakee Valley what the Kougars have done to everyone else this season. Power football. Run, run, run. First down after first down.
The clock kept ticking like a candidate in a debate. And when Brickie Alex Metz scored from seven yards out with 5:33 remaining in the first quarter, Hobart took a 7-0 lead.
That statement continued as Hobart beat Kankakee Valley 38-0 and will host Mishawaka in next Friday's semifinal.
“That was very big for us,” said Metz, who ran for 64 yards and had two scores. “That first drive brought a lot of momentum to our team. It was huge for us.”
The biggest play that didn't affect the scoreboard came with six minutes left in the third quarter. A huge scrum broke out in front of the Kougars sidelines. There were several pockets of pushing and shoving.
Suddenly, two flags were thrown. Hobart's Anthony Burgos was ejected, along with K.V.'s Johnny Morrison. By IHSAA rule, Burgos will not be allowed to play in next Friday's game.
“There's always a chance for human beings to make a mistake,” Hobart coach Ryan Turley said. “Their coaches said they threw the wrong guy out. We're going to send them the tape and hope they make the right call. Anthony is a senior and one of our best players.
“I would hate for him to have to sit out if someone made a mistake.”
Hobart scored again with 8:57 left in the second quarter when junior quarterback Andrew Barras hit Elijah Walker on a beautifully thrown ball from 35 yards out.
One play later, Hobart's Burgos picked off a pass from Kougar QB Joel Bolen at the 34-yard-line. One play later, Brickie Drey Devereaux scored from 34 yards out to give the guests a 21-0 lead.
The Kougars (8-2) drove down to the Hobart 16, but Devereaux intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it to the 35 just before the final horn sounded.
“That's what we've been waiting for all year,” Turley said of the first drive. “We wanted to jump start and come out ready to play. We didn't do that the first time we played them. We did that tonight.”
The Brickies (8-2) only allowed the Kougars into the red zone twice all night. The final time came in the final minutes when the hosts got down to the 1. On three straight possessions the Brickies defense stopped them and took over on downs.
Kougars senior running back Tyler Birky said he felt about 50 percent after hurting his ankle last week against Munster. He carried the ball 15 times for 47 yards.
“They did an outstanding job controlling the clock,” Kankakee Valley coach Brad Stewart said. “They made us feel helpless because we couldn't quite get a stop. They had field position the whole game and there wasn't much we could do about it.
“We have to give credit to Hobart. They did a great job.”