Hogan Prep grinds out tough win over Center
By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
Center High School and Hogan Prep Academy hadn’t battled on the football field since 2007. But make no mistake; this is a rivalry. And as with all rivalries, the team that wins is the last to break. Turns out, it only took a crack in the wall for Hogan Prep to take the win home.
One score was all the Rams needed Friday night to beat the Yellowjackets on their home turf, winning 7-0.
“This is the best team we’ve played so far this year,” Hogan Prep head coach Phil Lascuola said of the Jackets. “They have a lot of athletes, and they fought to the bitter end.”
The two teams had only given up a combined 19 points prior to Friday, and the defenses were once again in the spotlight once pitted against each other. But the Rams didn’t break, even after giving up two fumbles and two interceptions on offense.
“We made some mistakes tonight, but our defense kept us in it,” Lascuola said.
The only score of the game came in the second quarter when the Rams would get the ball at the Jackets’ 36-yard line after a short punt. Rams running back Anthony Sherrils would take a pass from Isaih Baylis for 14 yards for Hogan Prep’s only completed pass of the game. Sherrils would rush 20 more yards to get the ball down to the Center 2-yard line before Ke’Waun Riley would punch it in on fourth and goal.
Center, however, could not answer against a stout Rams defense. Hogan Prep did not allow the Yellowjackets into the redzone while causing two fumbles of their own and picking off a pass, as well.
“We just missed on our opportunities,” Center head coach Bryan Delong said. “Our defense was tremendous tonight, but it’s tough when those same guys can’t get going on offense. Our defense put us in a position to win, we just couldn’t convert.
“We knew it was going to be a dog fight. They play physical and battle hard. I take my hat off to them. They were better prepared.”
Center looked like they would have one more opportunity with time in short supply. After Hogan intercepted off a tipped ball, the Rams would cough the ball up to the Yellowjackets with 1:05 on a fumbled snap at the Center 45-yard line. A personal foul would put the ball at the Rams 28 with :03 seconds left, but quarterback Jaante Perkins would be sacked on the next play to end the ball game.
“Kudos to our defense,” Lascuola said. “We have a lot of speed, and we’re pretty deep, but to shut out a team like that, it’s unbelievable.”
The win continued the Rams’ early undefeated season, while the Yellowjackets would fall to 1-2 on the season, despite giving up just 14 points all season. It doesn’t get any easier for Center, with 5A Arkansas City (Kan.) coming up next week.
“We have to try and rebound next week. A lot of these kids know each other, and I’ll tell you, Hogan Prep does not like to get beat in any sport. It’s a rivalry,” Delong said. “But we feel we’re right on the cusp. This schedule tough to cut our teeth on, but this is where we learn life lessons and find things out about ourselves.”
As for Hogan Prep, they will take on O’Hara in the very same location in a televised Thursday night matchup. Lascuola stressed the importance of a good week of practice.
“We can’t have a letdown this week,” he said. “We have to keep getting better each week, or all of this is for nothing. Coming off a rivalry game like this, we can’t give in.”
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