Skyler Hutchison and the St. Clair running attack proved to be the difference in a football victory Friday at Pacific High School.
Hutchison carried the ball 36 times for a school-record 298 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0) to a 26-14 Four Rivers Conference win over the Indians.
Over the last two weeks, Hutchison has rushed for 492 yards in wins over Pacific and De Soto.
“That’s the back we know Skyler to be and that’s what he’s capable of doing. Our guys up front did a good job,” said St. Clair Head Coach Cody McDowell. “They threw a lot of different things at us. At this point of the season, there’s a lot of that stuff that we haven’t seen. We’ll look at it and go from there.” Pacific (1-2, 0-1) was within 20-14 midway through the third quarter, but couldn’t pull even.
“We made some plays on both sides of the ball. We just have to continue to battle,” said Pacific Head Coach George Hinkle. “Like I told the kids, we have to practice in order to play. We’ve had quite a few kids on the sideline during practice. We have to get them out there. They have to be out there if they want to participate on Friday night.”
St. Clair accumulated 396 total yards, 330 rushing and 66 passing.
Quarterback Collin Scott was 6-14 passing for 66 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 24 yards on nine attempts.
“He’s playing better every game, just needs more consistency,” McDowell said of Scott. “I was happy with how we played up front. We have some snap issues we still have to fix and some mental mistakes we need to work on.”
Alex Miller carried the ball three times for 25 yards and had three receptions for 23 yards.
Kevin Cox added two catches for 36 yards. Ian McQueen had one catch for seven yards and scored a two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs were without injured running back Evander Spinks.
Collin Avery had an interception for the Bulldogs.
“Defensively, we had some young guys playing in certain spots due to injuries,” McDowell said. “There were some mental mistakes. Those mental mistakes are things that kill us.”
Pacific accumulated 188 total yards, 110 rushing and 78 passing.
Lucas Zurliene, who made his first start of the season at quarterback, was 12-23 passing for 78 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 29 yards on nine carries.
“He did OK. He’s young and is going to make mistakes,” Hinkle said of Zurliene. “When he makes mistakes, he can’t go in the tank. He’s got to rally back, whether it’s on offense or defense. He has to understand what the mistakes are, and then work to correct them.”
Eain Roberts, Pacific’s starting quarterback in the first two games, suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the second game against Potosi and will miss the remainder of the season.
Caleb Moman carried the ball three times for 43 yards. Tanner Brown rushed for 18 yards on six attempts and had two catches for 12 yards.
Josh Vondriska collected four receptions for 27 yards and rushed for 20 yards on four attempts.
Chris Klenke finished with four catches for 26 yards. Duane Singleton had one reception for nine yards, which went for a touchdown. Lane Smith added one catch for four yards.
Dalton Voyles led Pacific’s defense with 12 solo tackles and two assists. Zurliene added six solos and two assists.
Dustin Cowsert and Shane Henderson both registered six solos and one assist. Logan Wells recovered a fumble.
Ashton Moore recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
St. Clair struck first on a one-yard touchdown run by Hutchison with 2:26 remaining in the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead.
Hutchison gave St. Clair a 12-0 lead on a four-yard touchdown run with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter.
Pacific got on the scoreboard with 32 seconds left in the second quarter when Zurliene tossed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Singleton to make the score 12-7.
St. Clair took the momentum right back, executing perfectly a hook and ladder pass with four seconds left.
Scott fired the ball to McQueen, who tossed it back to Hutchison, who raced down the sideline for a touchdown that went for 77 yards.
“That was a big play. It gave us a little cushion going into half,” McDowell said. “We came out and sputtered a little in the third quarter. We’ve had some second-half trouble so far, so I was glad to see us score in the fourth quarter and extend our lead.”
Another big play in the first half was an interception at the goal line by St. Clair’s Avery, which halted a Pacific drive early in the second quarter.
The Indians also had the ball at the St. Clair five-yard line early in the third quarter, and got no points out of it.
Pacific cut the lead to 20-14 with 6:20 left in the third quarter when a high snap on a St. Clair punt rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Moore for a touchdown.
Hutchison scored his fourth touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run to increase the Bulldogs’ lead to 26-14 with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Week Four Preview
FRC action continues Friday with St. Clair at home against Sullivan and Pacific at Union. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Sullivan (1-2, 1-0) defeated Union (1-2, 0-1) last Friday, 36-22.
McDowell expects a major challenge against Sullivan.
“It’s a big game for us and a big game for them. It’s just another Four Rivers Conference game for us. That’s how we have to approach it and take things one at a time,” McDowell said. “We have a couple of guys that we hope to get back. (Jake) Oermann (lineman) played limited. We’ll see what he can do and what he can handle.”
Hinkle knows the Indians will have their hands full against Union.
“It’s not going to be easy. They’ll be tough. We have to make sure we have a good week of practice,” Hinkle said. “We have to prepare well. We just have to play better and do a better job executing.”
St. Clair 6-14-0-6-26
S-Skyler Hutchison 1 run (kick failed), 2:26
S-Hutchison 4 run (kick failed), 3:47
P-Duane Singleton 9 pass from Lucas Zurliene (Mitchell Broam kick), :32
S-Hutchison 77 pass from Collin Scott (Ian McQueen pass from Scott), :04
P-Ashton Moore fumble recovery (Broam kick), 6:20
S-Hutchison 11 run (run failed), 7:07