HICKORY 35 SHARON 0
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Hickory 35 Sharon 0
HERMITAGE - According to Lou Derloni the goal for the 2014 Hickory Hornet football team is very clear.
"One more game," said the senior running back/linebacker. "We know how it felt to lose by three points to South Fayette (in the PIAA Semifinals last year) and we don't ever want to have that feeling again."
Although the season is just two weeks old the Hornets couldn't have asked for a much better start as they followed a 24-0 week one triumph at Strong Vincent by posting another shutout with a 35-0 romp of Region 3 rival Sharon on Friday night.
"We always want to win our home opener as well as our region opener and having it be against Sharon just feels great," said Derloni.
Hickory (2-0 overall, 1-0 Region 3) has now won four straight games against Sharon, for the first time ever, with each of those victories coming by at least 31 points and the cumulative score of the quartet 165-21.
"It is a total program effort," said Hickory coach Bill Brest, who is in his fifth season at the helm. "It's the coaches, but most importantly it is the players."
The Three-Time Defending District 10 Class AA Champion Hornets have now won nine straight regular season contests, dating back to last year, with each of those wins coming by no fewer than 24 points.
Friday's game saw Hickory jump to a 13-0 lead through one quarter, increase the advantage to 23-0 by halftime, 29-0 by the end of the third and then invoke the PIAA's 35-point mercy rule by scoring its final touchdown of the night with 7:55 left in the contest.
Special teams accounted for the first score of the night as Jordan Wombacker blocked a punt inside the Sharon 20 and Nathan Aikins scooped the ball up and ran across the goal line to make it 6-0 less than three minute into the game.
"All three facets of the game are stepping up," said Derloni.
After watching its defense hold Sharon to a second straight three and out it was time for Hickory's offense to step up, although the second Hornet possession of the night didn't get off to a promising start. A negative one yard run, followed by a holding penalty gave Hickory a second and 24 from its 38, but passes of six yards from Nick Cannone to Derloni and 17 yards from Cannone to Zach Cirillo made it fourth and one and Chuck Carr's three-yard run kept the series alive. A shift in philosophy helped Hickory complete the drive with a score as on four of its next five plays the team went to a "wildcat" formation with Derloni taking the direct snap and picking up gains of seven, 14 and six yards, before adding a second straight six-yard run, this one going for a touchdown to increase the advantage to 13-0 with 2:47 left in the first.
"We drove the ball right down the field and I give the O-Line and my blocking back on that drive, Chuck Carr, credit, because we just got a good push and I'm proud of my team," said Derloni.
Derloni added a second rushing touchdown on the evening, Carr also rushed for a score and Andrew Pryts caught a touchdown pass from Cannone, while Wombacker added a 33-yard field goal.
"We feel that we have a lot of guys that can touch the ball," said Brest. "We trust Lou Derloni with the ball, we trust Andrew Pryts with the ball, we trust Chuck Carr with the ball and Nicky Cannone is starting to grow up and mature as a quarterback," said Brest. "We have just got to make people defend us, we want to spread the field some and tighten the formations up sometimes, our offensive line is really gelling and that was part of the plan, so we have just got to mix things up and make people defend us."
Making his second start at the varsity level Cannone, a junior, performed well completing six of 11 pass attempts for 78 yards, a touchdowns and no interceptions.
"I told him on the sidelines that he did a great job and Nicky got better from last week to this week and we just expect him to keep progressing on a weekly basis and he is getting better," said Brest.
Defensively, Hickory allowed only four first downs and three of them came after halftime.
"First of all the guys know what they are doing," said Brest. "They are coaches on the field, and we basically have our entire front seven back from last year and they've played together so much that they just know the schemes so well and they study game film like crazy and they basically call the plays out and they are just doing so well."
While Hickory hasn't given up a point this season, Sharon (0-2, 0-1) has yet to score its first points of the year as this setback came on the heels of a 0-19 loss at Jefferson (Ohio) last Friday.
Both teams continue region play next week as Hickory hosts Corry and Sharon opens its home slate by taking on Titusville.
NOTES; This is the fourth time in five seasons under Brest that Hickory has opened the season 2-0, while it's the first time since 2004 that Sharon has started 0-2 and that Tiger squad finished the year 1-8.
Sharon 0-0-0-0 0Hickory 13-10-6-6 35