By Gary Smith
The Humboldt Vikings’ game plan to surprise the Peabody defense with a “Muddle Huddle” offensive set in last week’s non-region game can best be described as a shipwreck.
The Tide defense grounded the Vikings for only seven yards of total offense. The 72-0 shutout win is believed to be the largest margin of victory in the history of a rivalry that dates back almost a century.
In addition to limiting Humboldt to 22 rushes for -23 yards and three first downs, Peabody averaged 10 yards per rush and executed its offense for 10 touchdowns. The home team scored on every offensive possession.
On its first possession, Humboldt flashed the spread-the-field offensive set to momentarily catch the Peabody defense off-guard. The Tide quickly adjusted and held the Vikings offense in check for the entire game.
Peabody controlled the game with a total team effort. Defenders contributing crucial plays to set-up excellent scoring opportunities for the PHS offense were: Bryce Franks, with a fumble recovery; Jacquez Wilkins, with a 23-yard touchdown on a scoop-and-score fumble retrieval; Kyle Oglesby, with a bobble recovery and Desmond Tyler, with a pass interception.
In addition to the sudden-change turnovers, the home team forced Humboldt to alter its offensive game plan and return to a more traditional mode of attack, which PHS contained.
“We hadn’t seen the “Muddle Huddle” on film. Credit Humboldt for trying to give us a look we had not seen. I was proud of our guys. Coach (Tab) Vowell was able to get them lined-up there and we were able to adjust pretty quickly. We have a smart bunch, defensively. I have a lot of guys on defense who have played a lot of snaps, so we were able to get lined-up correctly. Fortunately, we were able to get some stops there early in the game out of that surprise look they came out and gave us,” explained Peabody Head Coach Shane Jacobs.
“Our defense is playing at a high level. We have guys flying around to the football and some players on the back-end of our defense that can run. They are intelligent guys. The back seven and D-Line continue to get better and improve. So, defensively, I think Coach Vowell and his guys are always going to give us a chance,” acknowledged Coach Jacobs.
“Of course, we are playing extremely well, offensively, right now. We knew, coming into the game, we would have more talent than our opponent, tonight,” noted the coach.
Contributing “Splash Play” touchdowns for the Tide were: Noah Halbrook, with an eight-yard touchdown pass (screen) from quarterback Cooper Baugus; Josh Parks, with a 37-yard TD aerial (post route) from Baugus; Jarel Dickson, with a 67-yard rumble up the middle of the field; Eli Hammonds, with an 18-yard catch (fade route) on a strike thrown by Baugus; Dickson, with two nine-yard bursts; Jacquez Wilkins, with a 23-yard scoop-and score fumble return and a five-yard blast; Allen Jones, with a two-yard plunge and Kamerom Morgan, with a 24-yard gallop over the left side.
With precision execution, Peabody accounted for eight extra points via Colton Cloyd’s long center snaps, Eli Hammonds’ holds and Isaiah Hicks’ kicks. Tallying two-point conversion runs were: Desmond Tyler and Triston Cook.
Statistically, Peabody registered 173 yards rushing and 66 yards passing for 239 total yards and nine first downs and Humboldt was limited to -23 yards on the ground and 30 yards through the air for seven total yards and three renewed series. Tide quarterback Cooper Baugus completed all four passes for 66 yards and three touchdowns and the Vikings went 6/16/1 in the aerial department.
PHS did not drop the football and HHS relinquished three-of-five fumbles. The home team was penalized twice for 30 yards and the visiting squad was flagged on six occasions for 31 yards.
Offensive leaders included: Jarel Dickson, with five rushes for 122 yards and three touchdowns; Jacquez Wilkins, with three carries for 31 yards and one TD; Josh Parks, with two receptions for 40 yards and one touchdown and Noah Halbrook and Eli Hammonds, with one catch each for eight and 18 yards, respectively, and a touchdown apiece.
Top defenders were: Courtlen Wade, with five solo tackles; Dickson, with four solo tackles, one assist and two quarterback sacks; Ja’Darren Easley, with a quartet of primary strikes, a secondary hit and a tackle-for-loss; Carson Vandiver, with two tackles and three assists and J.C Eubanks, with two primary contacts, one help-out and a QB sack.
Next, Peabody (4-0) hosts Halls on Friday in a Region 7-2A matchup at Walter Kilzer Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
“For us, we have to come in and keep getting better. We understand, to win important games in November, we have to be peaking at playoff time. The way to be peaking is to make sure we are coming to practice, working as hard as we can and getting better every day, individually and as a team,” challenged Coach Jacobs.