Hix debut riddled with bad luck in shutout loss
Of all things working for or against Paul Hix and the Hennessey Eagles in their season opener at Perkins-Tryon last Friday, the one thing they could have used was just a little bit of luck.
They got absolutely none of it.
Hix got a season’s worth of injury news in his first game as the program’s head coach, which contributed to a 35-0 loss to the Demons.
“It was the craziest thing,” Hix said of the handful of injuries, some of which will cause Eagles to miss this week’s game at Kingfisher and beyond.
“It was tough luck,” Hix continued. “It seems to happen one Friday night a year. Hopefully this is our only one like it.”
Starting quarterback Cole Joyce and running back Brysn Hunt went down in the second quarter with concussions and didn’t return.
Defensive back Kaden Hawk had 12 tackles for Hennessey, but was also injured and couldn’t return.
Starting right tackle Camden Drebenstedt tore an ACL and is likely done for the season.
Kaden Rapp, a tight end and linebacker, broke not one - BUT BOTH - pinkies. He played through the injuries but was limited.
And as the injuries mounted, Hennessey’s chances dwindled.
“We missed some golden opportunities early,” Hix said, noting an early 36-yard pass from Joyce to Hunt, a play that gave Hennessey some momentum it couldn’t keep up.
That play resulted in about one-fourth of Hennessey’s total offense.
Joyce threw for 63 yards and the Eagles ran for 62 total yards on 28 attempts.
Meanwhile, the Demons kept plugging away, mostly on the ground.
Quarterback Austin Mages ran for 107 yards and Ayron Lawson for 102.
They combined for all three of Perkins’ first-half TDs.
Mages had a 64-yard scamper in the first quarter and then Lawson ran for 16 yards in the second.
Mages added a 5-yard TD to complete the first half and began the second with a 16-yard scoring pass to Caleb Smith.
Lawson capped all scoring with a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth.
Hawk led the team in tackles before being injured.
Caleb Hubbard added seven tackles and Gage Zelnicek five.
Despite the loss and amount of injuries, Hix was able to pull some positives from the night.
The biggest is that 17 of our 22 starters had never played a varsity snap and now they have,” he said. “That game experience is invaluable and unfortunately it showed early.
“We got settled down in the second half and got some valuable experience, but the damage was done.”
Hix said the injuries were beyond unfortunate and lasting. Joyce and Hunt are doubtful for this week’s game.
Rapp will play, but with two broken digits.
Hix is hopeful Hawk can return against the Yellow-jackets.
Despite it all, Hix is steadfast in moving ahead in a positive manner.
“We’re focusing on the benefit of getting some extra guys reps that wouldn’t have normally played,” he said. “We may have found some new spots for a few guys.
“Some really young kids (freshmen) stepped up and got some valuable experience; hopefully we can hit our stride starting district play.”