On a rain soaked field in Hutto, turnovers doomed the Hippos as they fell to the Elgin Wildcats, 35-14 to even their district record at 1-1 and putting their overall record at 3-2.
“We got outplayed tonight,” Hutto head coach Steve Hale said. “We played a very good football team and we knew they were very good and we knew we had to play our best football game. We came out and made a lot of mistakes early.”
Hale’s statement says it all. The Hippos didn’t seem to get much offense going in the first half, and before they knew it they were down 21-0 at halftime and by then, it was too late.
The game kicked off with the Hippos getting the first possession. Their drive started off with a third down conversion, but then stalled out and ended with a punt. The Wildcats got their first possession, and their drive sputtered and ended with a punt that was muffed but recovered by the Hippos. Both teams then traded possessions with each other as an uneventful quarter ended.
The second quarter started with Elgin knocking on the door at the Hippo six-yard line. They converted a fourth-and-goal situation behind a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Te’Rel Simmons to go up, 7-0.
The Hippos and Wildcats then traded possessions with one another, before Hutto turned the ball over for the first time on a lost fumble. Elgin then capitalized on the turnover on a 36-yard trick play run to extend their lead to, 14-0.
“Offensively, we couldn’t move the ball,” Hale said. “We couldn’t run the ball and I don’t blame it on the conditions, but they just made the plays in crucial situations and we just couldn’t make plays.”
Elgin scored another touchdown after the Hippos couldn’t manage any offense, and their lead moved to 21-0 on another rushing touchdown. Hutto came up short at the end of the quarter as they went into the locker room, down 21-0.
The Hippos opened up the second half with a defensive stop. Hutto put a string of good plays together earning a first down, but then having it all crash down after a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Elgin, putting the score at 28-0.
“When you lose the turnover battle it’s hard to win a football game,” Hale said. “With what they were giving us, we just weren’t making plays.”
The next Hutto drive ended the same way their previous one did as they turned it over again via a lost fumble. The Wildcats turned it over as Tyler Matlock recovered a fumble at the Wildcat seven-yard line, and the Hippos were in business. They got themselves on the board behind a touchdown pass from Chase Adams to James Studdard, cutting the deficit to 28-7.
Hutto forced a turnover on their next defensive possession giving themselves hope for a comeback. The third quarter then ended with a score of 28-7.
The Hippos started the fourth quarter with the ball, but could not possess it for long as they turned it over again; this time from an interception. Elgin marched themselves right down the field with the help of multiple penalties and they extended their lead with another touchdown, putting the score now at 35-7.
“We had a lot of turnovers,” Hale said. “Special teams mistakes, couldn’t hold onto the ball. We got beat up front. Things that we usually hang our hat on, Elgin basically took away from us.”
Hutto put together a good drive that ended with a one-yard Luke Evans touchdown, putting the deficit back to 21 points. The Hippos couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick, thus ending their comeback chances.
Hutto couldn’t put anything together on their last drive, and the clock hit zero with the scoreboard reading 35-14 Wildcats.
“We’ve got to fix what’s broken and we’ve got to bounce back in a hurry,” Hale said. “The true test of our character is on the line right now with how we respond to playing a very sloppy football game. We’ve just got to take it one week at a time.”
The Hippos are off this week, which gives them time to recover and get healthy, before returning to the field against Pflugerville Connally in Hutto.