SMITHVILLE — Smithville football head coach Jason Ambroson talks as much about potential as he does success when he describes his young team’s 30-plus point performances on offense this season.
Fans got to see what that looked like Friday night.
After losing the turnover margin 11-8 through six games this season, the Warriors played a nearly flawless game of football to take down Louisburg 35-7 during Smithville’s homecoming game Friday, Oct. 9 at Smithville High School.
Ambroson said he was just happy his team got a chance to play at all.
Smithville’s regular scheduled opponent Raytown canceled on Wednesday because of COVID-19 related issues before the Warriors linked up with Louisburg, who traveled 60 miles and across state lines from Kansas for the game.
“I’m proud of how our guys handled that on such short notice,” Ambroson said. “The thing that we want to do is grow up as a football team. I felt like we grew up a little bit today.”
The Warriors executed a balanced attack on offense, allowing the team to take a 35-0 lead by early in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Hedgecorth delivered 152 passing yards with three passing touchdowns and junior running back Hayden Sigg racked up 105 yards and a touchdown.
“We kept control of the ball,” Ambroson said. “We were able to play a little bit inside, a little bit outside then throw the ball over the top.”
Hedgecorth’s night was particularly impressive as the Wildcats often used bracket coverage on his favorite target in junior wide receiver Rhett Foster, who finished the game with zero catches after he exited the game with an injury.
“I think we came out tonight not knowing what was going to happen, not even knowing if we’d have a game on Wednesday and we played really well,” Hedgecorth said.
The young signal-caller went with the open man as he found junior Keltin Nitsche four times for 69 yards and two receiving touchdowns and connected with Samuel Calvert for 42 yards and one touchdown on five catches.
“They were doubling Rhett the whole time,” Nitsche said. “But Hedgecorth just threw it over the top. It was great.”
Nitsche stepped up in the passing game in more ways than one as he threw a 15-yard touchdown to junior Adin Murawski on a trick play early in the third quarter.
“I thought (Nitsche) played really well,” Hedgecorth said. “We put in a new play this week, a reverse pass where he’s throwing it. He went out and executed it.”
That play put the Warriors up 21-0 but it was a defensive play at the end of the first half that deflated Wildcats’ attempts to get back into the game.
After Hedgecorth found Nitsche down the right sideline for a diving 22-yard touchdown reception in the end zone to go up 14-0, Louisburg responded with just 40 seconds on the clock.
The Wildcats moved the ball down the field with multiple big time receptions, including Louisburg’s own trick play.
Running back Kolby Kattau pulled up on a toss play to throw a pass to Kolton Vohs, who made a miraculous catch despite great coverage from sophomore Caleb Donnell.
But Donnell more than made up for that play.
Wildcats quarterback Weston Guetterman tried to hit Kattau on a post route into the red zone a few plays later. Donnell jumped the route and the game clock expired in the first half by the time he was pulled down on his interception return.
“He was eyeing the receiver the whole time,” Donnell said. “I knew he was going to throw it to this guy so I just came in and tried to pick it off. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates though.”
Louisburg would not be able to get into scoring territory again until the Wildcats scored on a 45-yard run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Smithville (5-2, 3-1 Suburban Blue) will play at Ruskin (1-5, 0-4 SB) Friday, Oct. 16. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 48-6 loss to Grandview.