The Big Lake Hornets took advantage of two early turnovers to build a 14-0 lead over an undefeated Zimmerman squad and never looked back. The Hornets kept their season alive with a 28-6 road victory.
On the first play of the game, Big Lake recovered a fumble at the thirty-yard line. They used an inside running game to move the ball inside the five and running back Deon Harris scored on a two-yard run.
Down 7-0 the Thunder's second offensive play resulted in another fumble and another turnover. Big Lake again took advantage of the short field. Harris got loose on a run to the outside. A couple of plays later quarterback Spencer Hinrichs dropped the shotgun snap but didn't panic. Instead of attempting a risky throw he ran to the outside, got around the corner and scored the Hornets' second touchdown in as many drives from 23-yards out.
Zimmerman looked like they were about to get back into the game in the second quarter during the critical sequence of the game. A nice mix of pass and run set Zimmerman up with a fourth and goal from the one-yard line. The inside of Big Lake's front seven stuffed the Thunder giving the ball back to the offense.
“On the half yard line, it showed that we wanted it more,” Big Lake head coach Nick Keenan said.
One would imagine getting a first down or two would be a win for the Hornets from their own one-yard line. Big Lake did that; then they flipped field position. They would convert a fourth and short by about an inch. On the next set of downs, they were faced with another fourth down and two and this time they got some help from Zimmerman. An offside penalty kept the drive alive. Harris finished the 99-yard drive using a nice cut in the backfield to sprint through a big hole on the right side of the line for a 37-yard touchdown.
Down 21-0 Zimmerman put together it's only scoring drive of the game early in the fourth quarter, but the Big Lake defense would allow nothing else.
Harris' twin brother Devonne Harris helped his brother get the edge on some of his runs as a tight end, but his most significant impact was felt on the defensive side of the ball.
“We had to stop their trap and their inside stuff and make them uncomfortable,” Devonne Harris said.
He sacked the quarterback once in the first half but made a number of plays in the second half – including at least two sacks, a quarterback hurry and a play that will not show up on the stat sheet, but his penetration forced the running back inside where his teammates cleaned up for a short loss.
“The last three weeks we have been keeping things more basic on defense,” Keenan said. “We didn't send one blitz the whole night, but we had guys in every gap and played football the right way.”
Trey Teige only stands 5'7″ but was a nice change of pace runner – along with Hinrichs – when the offense went away from Deon Harris. Teige also was a factor on defense. Zimmerman tested Teige with taller receivers and usually in one on one coverage Teige was up to the task.
“Usually the match up for me is against a taller guy because of my size,” Teige said, “but I try to be in the best position I can be and make plays.”
Deon Harris would cap off the scoring with another touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. The 32-yard touchdown run would make the final score 28-6.
On paper and even looking at the teams in pads, I thought Zimmerman looked like they had the better athletes, but Big Lake outplayed the formerly undefeated Thunder in every aspect of the game.