By MIKE KAYS
TAHLEQUAH — Sequoyah’s inconsistency and its ability to handle adversity rolled in to a Hilldale snowball here on an above-freezing Friday night at Thompson Field.
Three turnovers, dropped passes and special teams snafus all added up to a 57-0 blowout loss for the Indians.
With Locust Grove in command against Lincoln Christian and on its way to a District 3A-7-clinching 80-41 win, Hilldale left the locker room up 37-0 and with methodical ball-control work, put the period on a rout of their own.
"We heard the score and that's what we figured would happen," Adams said. "We're still in the playoffs and we just came back out played hard, and got the shutout."
Adams had a fumble recovery that led to a Hornets touchdown in what became a 31-point second quarter onslaught. Interceptions by Kaden Weaver and Dakota Holmes gave the defense three turnovers against the Indians.
"When you get beat this bad you can point to so many things," said Sequoyah coach Shane Richardson. "Give them credit though. They're going to go far. I just don't think this was indicative of both of us. We've just got to learn how to overcome bad things happening to us."
Hilldale quarterback Chandler Puckett ran for one touchdown and threw for two of his four touchdowns on the night as the Hornets (7-2, 4-1) raised a 6-0 first quarter lead to 37-0 at the half. His third touchdown pass to Bradley Campbell early on the first series of the third quarter was his fourth TD pass of the night.
But the dagger, both emotionally and numerically, was yet to come.
Indians running back Justin Hooper had three consecutive runs for double-digit yards (21, 13 and 13) to give Sequoyah (4-5, 2-3) a first-and-goal at the 2. Holmes stepped into the path of a Zach Parish delivery in the flat, then Hilldale embarked on a 14-play, length-of-the-field excursion.
Campbell, who had the biggest gainer of the drive on a 33-yard reception to the Sequoyah 41, converted on a fourth-and-5 stop route when Puckett hit him square in the numbers for a pickup of 20 to the Indians' 23-yard line.
Seth Reheard, who was stopped for a loss of 1 on the ensuing play to end the third quarter, opened the fourth quarter with a blast up the middle for 24 yards, making it 51-0.
A 10-play, 52-yard march capped it and helped limit Sequoyah to 13 second-half plays to Hilldale's 33 after the break.
Puckett rushed 10 times for 100 yards and was 15-of-21 for 181 yards and the four TDs. A couple of interceptions in the final minutes of the half were about the only flaws to his or the Hornets' effort.
"Except for that, we probably couldn't have played any better," Hilldale coach Chad Kirkhart said. "And that's the way you should be playing at this time of the year."
Even the Hornets' special teams got into the act, setting up their first score. Sequoyah had moved from its 15 to midfield but after a holding penalty slowed the drive, the Indians' Nick Kingfisher saw his punt blocked by Justin Sanders. Six plays later, it was Puckett to Campbell for 17 yards and a 6-0 lead as the pass for two points failed.
Kingfisher's luck continued that way as he dropped a pass from quarterback Zach Parish just past midfield on the Indians' second possession. Adams' recovery ended the next drive, then Parish had a wide open Caisen Green behind coverage at the Hilldale 35 on the next series but overthrew him slightly The same thing ended the next drive.
Hilldale had a 25-6 edge in first downs and a 441-105 edge in total yards and is now set to play the third-place team from District 3A-8 in two weeks. The Hornets close with winless Westville at home next Friday.
Sequoyah still has a shot at the postseason but the Indians have to beat Lincoln Christian on the road next week by five points or more and could depending on the margin could jump into third on the three-way tiebreaker with Jay
HILLDALE 57, SEQUOYAH 0
Hilldale 6 31 7 13--57
Sequoyah 0 0 0 0--0
HHS- Bradley Campbell 17 pass from Chandler Puckett (pass failed), 5:26.
HHS- Puckett 5 run (Campbell pass from Puckett), 11:53.
HHS- Campbell 22 pass from Puckett (Puckett kick), 9:13.
HHS: Seth Reheard 33 run (Campbell pass from Puckett), 6:20.
HHS: Hunter Olson 4 pass from Puckett (Dakota Holmes run), 3:31.
HHS: Campbell 22 pass from Puckett (Puckett kick), 8:57.
HHS: Reheard 24 run (Puckett kick), 11:54.
HHS: Devin Cochran 4 run (run failed), 1:29.
First Downs 25 6
Rushes-Yards 42-260 29-83
Passing Yards 181 22
Passes CAI 15-21-2 3-12-2
Punts-Avg. 0-0 5-27
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-35 2-15
Rushing: Hilldale, Puckett 10-100 (TD), Reheard 11-87 (2 TD). Sequoyah, Justin Hooper 18-87.
Passing: Hilldale, Puckett 15-21-181-2 (4 TD). Sequoyah, Zach Parish 3-12-22-2.
Receiving: Hilldale, Campbell 8-149 (3 TD). Sequoyah, Caisen Green 3-22.