Bloomsburg defeats Hughesville in football, 34-6, Saturday in Week 1 opener
HUGHESVILLE –Even as the COVID-19 pandemic invaded last spring and forced so many inside, Brody Hock and Jack Howell still could play football together. All each had to do was go one house over.
Hock and Howell are both neighbors and friends. They have spent countless hours playing outside and in the fourth quarter at Hughesville Saturday night, the senior teammates played some of their best backyard football. Howell twice found Hock for touchdowns and Hock added a pick 6, scoring three touchdowns in 2 minutes, 49 seconds as Bloomsburg broke open a close game and defeated Hughesville, 34-6, in its season opener.
Hock caught seven of his eight passes during the second half, producing 135 yards. Howell added a first-quarter touchdown to Damon Rasmussen, finishing his night with three scoring strikes and 155 yards as the Panthers finally pulled away against a vastly improved Hughesville defense.
“We have that connection. He’s my neighbor and we’re buddies,” Hock said. “We hang out all the time. We’re always throwing and we have that chemistry.”
That was evident on the game’s biggest play. Bloomsburg quickly took a 12-0 lead less than four minutes into the game before Hughesville stifled it over the next two quarters. Facing a fourth-and-7 from the Hughesville 39-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Bloomsburg went for it and called on its top two playmakers.
Howell stepped up in the pocket and threw a dart 20 yards downfield that threaded two defenders. Hock was covered well, but there was no defensing the perfect throw and catch as Hock broke free and went the distance for the game-breaking touchdown. Three plays following an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone resulted in a safety, Howell rolled right and found Hock for another touchdown, this time from 10 yards as Bloomsburg went up 28-0. It was their fourth touchdown connection against Hughesville in two years.
“He said run the route, I ran it and he knows what he’s doing,” Hock said. “He put it right in there and made a great throw.”
“We played against (Hock) last year and he did big things against us and he did it again tonight,” Hughesville coach Adam Gehr said. “He’s their go-to guy and we knew that going in and for the most part we did OK, but you can’t shut down a great kid like that all night.”
Hughesville, though, did shut down Bloomsburg during the middle quarters and laid the foundation for better days ahead with its stingy defense. The Spartans were near the bottom of District 4ás rankings in points and yards allowed last season, but never buckled following Bloomsburg’s fast start as linemen Hayden Robbins, Chase Snyder, Gabe Wagner, Hunter Herr and Caleb Burkhart set a physical tone.
Following Bloomsburg’s early touchdowns, Hughesville snuffed out the run, effectively pressured Howell and surrendered just 49 yards on the next 29 plays. During that stretch the Spartans collected four sacks and forced three turnovers with Joey Swink returning an interception 26 yards to Bloomsburg’s 34-yard line in the second quarter.
Wagner was outstanding in his first start and the sophomore defensive end recorded 2 1/2 sacks. Snyder added another and Herr was in on one as well, while Robbins recovered a fumble at the Bloomsburg 18-yard line with one second left in the half.
Hughesville simply could not capitalize and reward its defense. The Spartans were inside the Bloomsburg 20-yard line three times in the first half, but those series ended in a bad snap for a 13-yard loss, a sack and an incompletion.
“The defense played really well, but we just didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Gehr said. “We definitely had some opportunities. It’s just little stuff that we have to correct and we have to do a little better job coaching.”
Bloomsburg’s defense swarmed all night and its starters surrendered just three yards on 39 plays. Hughesville did break through midway through the fourth quarter when Colton Yocum and Mikey Dylina ran well with Dylina scoring on a 29-yard touchdown down the right sideline.
In addition to forcing two turnovers, Bloomsburg also registered four sacks. Hock put an exclamation point on the defense’s Steel Curtain-like performance when he returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown that put Bloomsburg up, 34-0.
“The defense did very well tonight. We have numbers this year” Hock said. “A lot of kids came out this year and everyone is just having a lot of fun playing. Our defense is pretty lock down.”
Bloomsburg 34, Hughesville 6
Bloomsburg 12 0 0 22-34
Hughesville 0 0 0 6-6
B-Damon Rasmussen 12 pass from Jack Howell (kick failed), 11:14
B-Nasir Heard 64 run (pass failed), 8:33
B-Brody Hock 39 pass from Jack Howell (Sisay Doerschler kick), 11:41
B-Intentional grounding in end zone for safety, 10:42
B-Hock 10 pass from Howell (Doerschler kick), 9:01
B-Hock 42-yard interception return (kick failed), 8:52
H-Mikey Dylina 29 run (kick failed), 7:15
TEAM STATISTICS B H
First Downs 10 7
Rushes-yards 23-106 35-45
Passing yards 155 25
Total yards 261 70
Comp-Att-Int 12-25-1 5-14-1
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-1
Penalties-yards 14-110 8-65
RUSHING: Bloomsburg, Nasir Heard 3-71; Luke Potora 7-43; Brody Hock 1-9; Josh Bogdanowicz 1-3; Toby Zajac 1-0; Tanner Mattern 1-0; Team 1-0; Nasir Kelly 1-(-2); Jack Howell 7-(-18). Hughesville, Colton Yocum 7-43; Mikey Dylina 5-42, TD; Devin Swank 6-9; Brenden Knight 6-5; Luke Kaiser 3-(-6); Team 1-(-20); Joey Swink 7-(-28).
PASSING: Bloomsburg, Howell 12-25-1, 155 yards, 3 TDs. Hughesville, Swink 4-12-1, 17 yards; Kaiser 1-2-0, 8 yards.
RECEIVING: Bloomsburg, Hock 8-135, 2 TDs; Daniel Gusevich 2-4; Damon Rasmussen 1-12, TD; Devon Yocum 1-4. Hughesville, Swank 3-10; Aiden Barlett 1-8; Angelo Ferrigno 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bloomsburg, Hock. Hughesville, Swink.
SACKS: Bloomsburg, Yocum, Chase Morris. Hughesville, Gabe Wagner 2 1/2; Chase Snyder 1, Hunter Herr 1/2.
Records: Bloomsburg 1-0. Hughesville 0-1.