Hico’s football fans got a treat Friday night as their Tigers dominated Millsap in the season home opener, 41-8.
Hico improved to 2-1 on the season with the non-district victory over the Class 3A, Division II foe at Tiger Stadium.
Running back Jacob Smith rushed for two touchdowns and scored another on a pass from quarterback Briley Johnson. Johnson connected on his second scoring pass to Jacob Crouch in the second quarter.
The Tigers’ defense also got in on the scoring, with Hunter Mullins returning a fumble 35 yards for a TD and Justin Smith returning an interception 68 yards to the end zone.
The Class 2A, Division I Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, and held a 21-7 grip at halftime.
Hico head coach Keith Wood said that Millsap tried to use its size advantage, but the Tigers’ speed and quickness prevailed.
Wood was pleased to see his Tigers bounce back with authority after their 47-13 loss at Class 3A Tolar in their previous outing.
“I’m very happy,” Wood said. “Last week we were disappointed, and I wasn’t sure how the kids would come out, but they came out and played excellent. This was really good for their confidence.”
Wood said he couldn’t point to an aspect of the game he wasn’t pleased with, other than a couple of turnovers.
“I thought everything went well,” he said. “If you cut down your turnovers, it gives you a chance to win every game.”
It was the most productive passing game of the season for Johnson, a sophomore who has been the quarterback since Wood’s son, senior Parker Wood, was sidelined for the season with a preseason injury.
“This was his biggest night so far,” Wood said of Johnson. “It was good for his confidence to see receivers get open.”
Smith entered the game leading Hico with over 300 yards rushing in the first two games.
Smith’s first TD, from 5 yards out, came with 8:25 remaining in the opening quarter as Hico gained a 6-0 lead.
Mullins picked up a fumble by the Bulldogs and returned it 35 yards with 1:04 left in the first quarter. The extra point kick had failed after the first TD, so Johnson kept the ball and ran in for a 2-point conversion for a 14-0 advantage.
Crouch’s TD catch came with 4:50 to go in the second quarter.
Briley Johnson hit Jacob Smith on a 20-yard TD pass with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Smith’s 4-yard TD run at the 8:57 mark was followed by Justin Smith’s interception return that gave Hico a 41-0 lead.
The Bulldogs (1-2) got their consolation TD with 4:37 remaining in the game on a 6-yard scoring run.
On Friday, Sept. 16, the Tigers will have their Homecoming game, taking on Italy (7:30 p.m. kickoff).
“Normally they have some pretty good athletes,” Wood said of Italy. “It will be exciting. I bet our kids will be amped up.”
Italy, a member of District 8-2A, Division I, improved to 3-0 Friday night with a 42-0 win over Blooming Grove.