HILLMAN-The Hillman football team made a strong statement on Friday night.
Ty Jones threw three touchdown passes, Hillman's defense forced eight turnovers and the Tigers dominated Rogers City during a 47-0 win at Hillman High School.
Hillman's defense was a question mark heading into the game, considering that the Tigers had surrendered 104 points in two games. Any defensive doubts were quickly erased though as Hillman forced turnovers on Rogers City's first three drives.
"We've been shooting ourselves in the foot on defense and making silly mistakes. We worked really hard. Tonight I told them, 'Make a statement,''Hillman coach Bill Koenig said. "People were kind of looking beyond our defense and we wanted to let them know they can't do that."
The Tigers (3-1) intercepted the Hurons' quarterbacks five times with three coming from Mason VanPamel and one each from Dylan Ross and Kenny Kolcan.
Mike Klein set the tone for Hillman's offense on the first play of the game, racing 60 yards for a touchdown to put Hillman ahead 6-0. After the Tigers lost a fumble on their next drive, they found paydirt on three of their next five possessions.
Strong defensive play gave Hillman's offense short fields to work with and Jones found Ross for a 17-yard score with 3:35 left in the first quarter. On the next drive, Hillman started from the Hurons' 35-yard line and Jones hooked up with VanPamel for a 14-yard score. Josh Reinbold converted PATs on both drives, giving Hillman a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Jones was 9-of-14 for 224 yards and one interception along with his three scores. Reinbold converted four PATs on the night and missed a field goal try from 40 yards near the end of the first half.
"Ty's a smart kid and he's got some really good receivers. They're finding the open zone and he knows that VanPamel can go up there and get it," Koenig said of Jones.
VanPamel had four catches for 72 yards. Travis Powers had 86 yards on two catches and Klein had 49 yards on two catches.
The Hurons (2-2) couldn't move the ball with any regularity and had several drives end on the first play. Rogers City got to the Hillman 35-yard line midway through the second quarter, but the drive ended when Kolcan intercepted Quintin Kelly.
Hillman needed just two plays to find the endzone off the turnover as Jones found Powers for a 70-yard score.
Rogers City put together its longest drive of the night on its next possession, marching from its own 35-yard line to Hillman's 20. The Tigers' defense ultimately came up big and stalled the drive. A block in the back wiped out a run by Chris Lopez and on the next play, Kelly was sacked, leading to an eventual punt.
Jack Ryan led Rogers City on the ground with nine carries for 66 yards. Jacob Malocha added 40 yards on eight carries.
The Hurons got the ball to begin the second half, but on their first play, VanPamel intercepted his second pass. Six of Rogers City's second-half drives ended in turnovers.
"Every year you have a game like this where no matter what you do, it turns into trouble," Rogers City coach Tim Nagy said. "That game was over in the first quarter and we never did come back. I couldn't even tell you how many mistakes we made."
On the ensuing drive, Kolcan burst through a hole up the right side and eventually cut back to the left for a 70-yard score. Reinbold's PAT gave Hillman a 34-0 lead early in the third quarter.
Kolcan had 150 yards on 11 carries.
Hillman put together a long drive on its next possession, but Jones was intercepted by Colton Fessler. Hillman recovered a fumble a few plays later.
After another VanPamel interception, Kolcan added Hillman's final offensive score of the night with 13 seconds left in the third quarter, finding paydirt from 38 yards out. On the Hurons' next play, Ross intercepted Kelly and raced 28 yards to the endzone, giving the Tigers a 47-0 lead.
The Hurons got one last drive and moved the ball past midfield before Reinbold recovered a funble.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.