Speedy start, fast finish
Facing their third pound-it and sweep-it offense in three weeks, Highland was able to jump out to 26-0 lead before Hoxie could right the ship.
The Rebels stayed perfect on the season with a 39-21 victory over the Mustangs at Hoxie on Sept. 16.
Even though junior running back Jordan Brewer had a four-touchdown night against Corning the previous week, Hoxie got a large dose of quarterback Sterling Stowers on the first drive.
Faking it to Brewer on the first three plays, Stowers picked up the Rebel first down before Brewer scampered for an 18-yard gain.
Stowers fumbled the snap, but recovered in time to find an open Ethan Hoppe in the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown. The point-after attempt was not good, but Highland had a 6-0 lead at the 9:16 mark of the first.
A dazed Mustang team could only manage two yards on their first drive and then allowed Highland in to block the punt, which was recovered by Kyle Brison at the Hoxie 22.
Four plays later, Stowers danced up the middle for a 4-yard TD. The 2-point conversion pass was incomplete to keep the score at 12-0.
The Reb defense forced the Mustangs to give up the ball on downs by stopping a fourth-and-3 near midfield.
Whether he was going for the jugular or just testing out his trick plays, Rebel Head Coach Spencer Hill called for the double-pass on first down.
Stowers threw the backwards pass to Michael Copeland. Copeland, with Hoxie bearing down on him, chunked it to a wide-open Garrett Sublett, who jogged in for the score. Hoppe hit the PAT for a 19-0 first quarter advantage.
Still looking for a first down, Mustang quarterback Sebastian Irvin kept the ball on four straight carries. The bull-of-a-runner punished the tacklers, but after Carr Hill sacked him for a loss on fourth down, the Rebels had the ball again at the Hoxie 41. Brewer popped off a 13-yard run and Stowers scored on an 8-yard sweep for a score of 26-0.
Finally, the running started to pay off as Hoxie sent Devin Roberts and Irvin at the Highland D for a 12-play, 70-yard drive, including a 3-yard Irvin score to get on the board at 26-7.
The Rebels then suffered their first four-and-out.
With three-seconds left in the half, Hoxie scored again on a Treadaway 3-yard run to cut the score to 26-14.
But, Hoxie lost Sebastian Irvin to a leg injury on the drive.
The Rebels stopped Hoxie's opening second half drive with a interception by Brennon Severn, who returned it to the Mustang 47.
Brewer and Stowers took turns pushing the ball down the field concluding with a Stowers 9-yard touchdown rush and a 32-14 lead at 7:00 in the third.
This year's Mr. Opportunity, Severn, recovered a Mustangs' fumble on first down at the Hoxie 27.
Highland turned the turnover into points when Brewer ran it in from 1-yard out. Stowers hit senior receiver Ben Markway for a 14-yard gain on the drive. Hoppe hit the PAT for a 39-14 score.
The Mustangs' Kenny Mashburn added a late touchdown for Hoxie for the final score. Stowers led Rebel rushers with 16 carries and 90 yards. He was also eight-of 10 for 97 yards passing. Brewer had 71 yards on 13 carries. Hoppe had three catches for 67 yards.
Highland (3-0) will start conference play against Westside at home field on Sept. 23.