Early score holds up for Cubs

Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Humboldt High’s Christian Hicks (27) eludes the grasp of Burlington High defender Billy Dickinson (52) in the first quarter of Humboldt’s 7-6 victory Friday. Hicks rushed for 84 yards and scored the Cubs’ only touchdown on a seven-yard reception.

HUMBOLDT — A few early missed opportunities had Mike Miller concerned at halftime.
Humboldt High’s head coach knew that in Friday’s defensive struggle, every possession was valuable.
And despite marching inside visiting Burlington High’s 20-yard-line three times in the first half, Humboldt found the end zone only once.
“We had our opportunities, but we didn’t execute like we should have,” Miller said. “It almost came back to bite us.”
Humboldt’s defense held on a crucial extra point fake in the fourth quarter, and the Cubs thwarted a last-minute Burlington drive to eke out a 7-6 win.
The victory came in the season-opener for both squads and gave Miller a victory in his first game as Humboldt’s head coach.
The Cubs sealed the win when Burlington, after scoring on a 1-yard plunge by Brock Ditto with 4:13 left in regulation, opted for some trickery on the extra point.
The Wildcats initially lined up in a “swinging gate” formation, with only the center, holder and placekicker near the ball and the rest of the team lined up to the side.
After a timeout, Burlington lined up for a traditional kick attempt, but at the hike decided to fake it and throw a pass to the end zone.
The ball was just out of reach of the Wildcat receiver.
Humboldt was forced to punt on its next possession and Burlington drove to the Cub 37-yard line.
But three consecutive incomplete passes — the last coming from another swinging gate formation — gave the Cubs possession with 36 seconds left and the victory in hand.
The game became a battle of attrition for Humboldt, which moved the ball throughout the first half, but lost three key starters to injury after the break.
The Cubs methodically drove down the field on their first possession. But the 14th play, a fourth-down pass from quarterback Derrik McCall at the Wildcat 7-yard-line, was out of reach for receiver Tevin Strack.
Humboldt’s third drive of the game was facing an eerily similar circumstance — fourth down at the Burlington 7 — but this time McCall found Christian Hicks on the right flat. Hicks tiptoed along the sideline and jumped past the pylon for the score.
Freshman Hayden Boring drilled the ensuing extra point kick through the uprights for the extra point — the ultimate deciding point.
The Cubs threatened to score in the final minute of the first half, but McCall’s third fourth-down pass attempt of the game bounced out of Strack’s outstretched arms in the end zone.
Strack left the game after being hit hard by a Burlington defender early in the second half. Adding to the misery, Hicks and starting fullback Kyle Warren were in and out of the lineup throughout the second half because of cramps, effectively putting the brakes on Humboldt’s offense.
“We’re pretty thin as it is and losing those starters hurt,” Miller said. “We had some freshmen step up and make some plays for us on defense.”
HIcks rushed 26 times for 84 yards, while McCall completed 6 of 15 passes for 81 yards and rushed 13 times for 34 yards. Jarred Barr had 26 yards on two receptions. Strack had two catches for 24 yards and Trey Johnson had a 25-yard catch.
Strack and McCall pulled in interceptions and Ryan Gean recovered a fumble for the Cubs.
Humboldt travels to Cherryvale next Friday.

Humboldt 0-7-0-0—7
Burlington 0-0-0-6—6

Humboldt — Hicks 7 yd pass from MCall (Boring kick)
Burlington — Ditto 1 yd run (pass failed)