Hornets fall to unbeaten Steele Knights
Johnathan Jackson of East Central powers his way through the Steele defense during the Hornets’ Oct. 25 loss to the Knights.
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CIBOLO -- The Hornets had their opportunities, but fell to the Steele Knights on Thursday Night Lights last week by the final score of 28-0. For East Central, it was the team’s first loss on television.
The Hornets took the opening kickoff to start the game, and senior Dustin Toscano returned it to the East Central 21. Johnathan Jackson got the Hornets moving early on the ground. A missed opportunity through the air later proved costly, as the East Central drive stalled out around the Hornet 40-yard line, and the team was forced to punt the ball away to Steele.
After holding the Knights to a three-and-out, Toscano fielded a Steele punt at midfield and returned it down inside the Knights’ 10-yard line. The Hornets made an attempt at running the ball in, but then went to the air, and had disaster strike as the pass toward the end zone was intercepted by a Steele defender at the 2-yard line and returned into East Central territory.
The Knights then got a little taste of their own medicine, as Austin Jupe picked off a Steele pass at the Hornet 25. The offense went back to work, but only moved the ball to the 33-yard line, and was forced to punt the ball away.
Steele put together a good drive from there, moving 85 yards and scoring on a short 3-yard run over the left tackle. The point-after kick was good, and the score stood at 7-0 with just 40 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Toscano had another good return on the ensuing kickoff, and the Hornet offense was set up with good field position at its own 39-yard line. Jackson went back to work on the ground, racing across midfield and down to the Knights’ 22-yard line. Unfortunately, the drive went nowhere from there, and the Hornets eventually turned the ball over to Steele at the 16-yard line.
The teams then exchanged possessions, as each punted the ball away to the other. The Knights then found success through the air, and made a big play down to the Hornet 19. Steele kept things on the ground from there, and eventually scored on a 9-yard run right up the gut. The point-after kick was good, and the Knights led the Hornets 14-0 with 2:41 to play in the half.
The Hornets got the ball back with a little time left on the clock, and drove hard to make something happen before the break. Wanya Ward caught a pass over the middle for a gain down to the Steele 27-yard line. A pass to Justin Organ then put the Hornets on the Knights’ 16-yard line with 18 seconds to play in the half. The Hornets did what they could to put some points on the board, but Steele came up with another interception on the last play of the first half, sending the teams to the locker rooms with the score still 14-0 in favor of the Knights.
Steele took the kickoff to start the second half, and drove down into East Central territory. The Knights’ drive came to an abrupt end, however, when junior corner Russell Brown of East Central intercepted a pass, giving the ball back to the Hornet offense.
East Central went backwards on its next possession, and was forced to punt on fourth-and-long. The Knights wasted little time on their next possession, however, scoring after just three plays on a 25-yard touchdown run. The point-after kick made it a 21-point game, and things weren’t looking good for the Hornets.
The Knights eventually scored a fourth touchdown during the opening minute of the fourth quarter. The team’s kicker remained perfect on the night, and the score was 28-0 with 11:32 to play in the game.
East Central put together some good drives on offense, and the defense held the Knights from scoring again, but it was more than enough, as Steele took the 28-0 win, and sole ownership of the lead in District 28-5A.
Jackson led the Hornet running game with 81 yards on 15 carries, followed by senior Chris Armstrong with 39 yards on 11 touches. Javion Polk was held to just 6 yards on five rushes.
Through the air, the Hornets connected on five of 14 passing attempts for 48 yards. Ward led the way with three catches for 36 yards, and Organ caught two for 12 yards.
The loss drops the Hornets to 5-3 on the year, and 2-1 in District 28-5A play. East Central will return to playing on Friday night this week, as the Hornets host the South San Bobcats. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Hornet Stadium.