Hornets off to a great start on the gridiron

REPUBLIC – The Oroville Hornets put one in the win column in their season opener against Republic on the Tiger’s home turf.

The two teams remained scoreless in the first quarter, with Oroville putting the first points on the board in the second. The Tigers blocked the Hornet’s extra point attempt. Republic came back with a touchdown of their own, but Oroville scored again before the halftime whistle. The teams hit the locker room with the Hornets up 13-7.

“We kicked off to them at the start of the second half. They had a big play and they scored, but we blocked their PAT and we were tied 13 all,” said Oroville Hornet Coach Tam Hutchinson.

Oroville’s Preston Iverson ran a 48-yard run and kicked the point after to move the Hornet score up to 20 to Republic’s 13. Iverson had two out of three successful point after kicks for the night.

“The game ended with us within their five yard line, but we let the clock run out,” Hutchinson said.

Among the highlights of the game, according to Hutchinson, was freshman Nicky Perez running the ball 20 times for 88 yards, said the coach.

“Luke Rowton had 16 carries for 60 yards and he caught a 30 yard pass from Preston Iverson to run for a touchdown for our second score,” said Hutchinson. “Preston caught a 30 yard pass from Luke for a touchdown for our first score.”

The coach said that Republic’s team was bigger in size and had 12 seniors to Oroville’s three.

“We have mostly sophomores and freshmen, with a few juniors,” said Hutchinson. “Offensively we were more physical than they were. We pushed back on the line and I’m real pleased with the kids as young as they are.”

The Hornets threw just one interception for the evening and had one penalty on an off sides call, according to the coach.

“Carlos (Herrera) led the defense with six primary tackles and something like eight assists. JT Miller had two interceptions with the second late in the game when they were driving down and it stopped their scoring threat,” Hutchinson said.

The Hornets again take the field this Friday, Sept. 12 to face off against North County rivals the Tonasket Tigers. Game time is 7 p.m. at Ben Prince Field in Oroville.