Hildreth Shines As Pirates Claim Convincing Road Victory At Dodge City To Open 2018
August 23, 2018
DODGE CITY, Kan. - In a very much anticipated competition, the Independence Pirates (1-0) opened up the season on the road taking on the Dodge City Conquistadors (0-1). With the quarterback position still a mystery, when the starter went down Head Coach Jason Brown did not hesitate as he had one more in his back pocket who panned out amazingly going 16-26 passing for 201 yards and throwing three touchdowns to lead Independence to a 38-20 triumph.
The Pirates led by as many as 28 points before small mistakes made the game much closer than Brown would've wished for, but picked up 14 first downs on the night while holding possession for 28:25.
"We started out fast tonight and slowed up a bit toward the end," Brown said. "We have to be able to finish games stronger and not doing so tonight really hurt us. We have to be able to win the fourth quarter and avoid injuries from here on out."
"Hutchinson is our opponent next week and they are very physical and athletic. They played tonight as well and once we can get film on them then we'll have a better understanding of how we need to approach that situation"
In the first quarter, quarterback Jay Jones completed an 11 yard pass to Marqwell Odom to start the action. The next play, Jones scrambled all the way to the five yard line on a 60 yd run in which he was shaken up giving way to backup Chase Hildreth. The Pirates were held to zero yards and settled for a 13 yard field goal by Ryan Redman at the 11:53 mark to put the Pirates up 3-0.
The following drive, the Pirates recovered a fumble on the Dodge City 16 yard line. Independence faced a fourth down and three, but were stopped on downs at the 14 yard line. Dodge City would threaten with quick scrambles from quarterback John Lux, who completed a short pass to Terrell Warner but the next play Jermaine Johnson made a huge stop on second down before Lux was intercepted by Antonio Wallace to the Dodge City 34 yard line.
Independence struggled moving the ball but minutes later, ran down to the 13 yard line with running back Shermari Jones who scored on the next play from 13 yards out. Redman's extra point was good and the Pirates extended their lead to 10-0 at the 3:16 mark.
The Conquistadors scored the following drive on a 51 yard pass from Drew Harris to Tyrice Richie and Dodge City cut the Pirate's lead to 10-7 at the 1:28 mark. Neither team would score the remainder of the period.
The second quarter began with an 11 yard touchdown strike from Hildreth to receiver Roy Livingstone and with the extra point sailing through the uprights Independence with 11:52 left before halftime led 17-7.
"I'm very excited about the win tonight, but I couldn't have done it without the help of my teammates," said Hildreth. "My receivers showed out, the line blocked really well for me and the coaches called great plays that I was able to execute."
"I feel like we could've finished a little better, but we just have to move past it, work hard and prepare for the next opponent by studying film and having great days at practice."
On the following drive, Dodge City's Devonta Guillory fumbled the snap on a punt attempt and was taken down by Jacob Harris to give Independence yet another possession. Hildreth completed a 45-yard pass in the open field to Markiese King the next play for a score and the Pirates would add seven more points going up 24-7 with 9:36 remaining in the half.
The following drive Lux was sacked by Jermaine Johnson for a loss of four yards and the Conquistadors would go three and out on the drive. With the Pirates going three and out the Conquistadors took over at the Independence 41 yard line, but on fourth down Lux was taken down with ease by Tamarion Johnson putting the Independence offense back on the field.
The Pirates faced another fourth down the following drive, but it was a no go has Hildreth's pass was batted down giving Dodge City the ball back on their own 45 yard line. The Conquistadors seemed to have momentum going their way, but with 3.5 seconds remaining in the half Lux would take a sack from Kailon Davis setting up a 28 yard FG from Guillory that split the uprights and Independence led 24-10 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Conquistadors failed to get any kind of offense and Guillory was stopped by Davis after another failed punt attempt at the Dodge City six yard line. Two plays later, running back Corinthian Cunningham plunged into the end zone from five yards and the Pirates continued to pour it on, 31-10 with 12:45 remaining in the period.
The following drive, Dodge City made a break for the end zone on a 22 yard gallop from Daquan Bailey-Brown, who was pushed out of bounds at the 29-yard line, but would fail to produce any points as Harris's pass threw an incompletion on fourth down as the Pirates regained possession. Two plays later, Hildreth connected with King for his third touchdown pass of the evening on a 68 yard strike and Independence was cruising up 38-10 with 6:55 remaining. The two teams battled it out the remaining minutes of the quarter but with neither able to score, the Pirates held to the 28 point lead heading to the final minutes of play.
The fourth quarter saw Dodge City settle for a 31 yard field goal from Guillory to bring the score to 38-13 with 13:10 left to play. Independence's punter Adam Barry was blocked by Myles Henderson and recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Khalil Yow making it 38-20 Pirates with 11:13 left to play.
With the game getting closer down the stretch, the Pirates looked to score again and with a 27 yard pass to Matthew Wilcox, Chase Hildreth gave them that opportunity. Unfortunately they would not be able to score on the drive as Redman's field goal attempt was wide right and the score remained 38-20.
Independence regained possession after a Dodge City turnover, but was unable to get any type of momentum going. The Pirate defense held strong for the remainder of the game and Independence claimed the victory.
Next week, the Pirates face the Hutchinson Blue Dragons in the home opener at Shulthis Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm.