Routt’s football team drives past Pleasant Hill in the season opener

PLEASANT HILL — To reduce the risk of injury, Routt’s football team didn’t hit much in preseason practice.

They saved all the knocks for Pleasant Hill.

Routt played a nearly flawless game on Saturday night, holding Pleasant Hill to just 21 total rushing yards and four first downs in a 54-0 victory over Wolves in the season opener for both teams.

“There were a lot of things that worried us,” Routt coach Barry Creviston said. “We didn’t have a Gatorade ‘scramble,’ so the tackle was something that really worried us about coming here and being bad tacklers, but I think we did a really good job on defense. Obviously, it was a shutout. It helps our psyche to approach the next week, and you can only celebrate for about 12 hours, and you have to prepare for the next shift.

After losing linebacker/running back Will Jackson to a broken leg in his preseason scrimmage last year, Routt avoided all contact in the preseason, with no contact in his game of scrum without scrimmage last Friday.

“At the start of two days we did some live stuff and then we really backed off,” Creviston said. “Hopefully they would be hungry on game night to tackle, and I think we did a really good job.”

Routt’s offense was as good as his defense. The Rockets finished with 211 rushing yards and 239 passing yards, picking up 28 first-quarter and 42 first-half points to start the second half with the clock running.

Kohen Hoots completed 13 of 17 passes for 208 yards and one interception. Catching passes on Saturday night were nine different Routt players, led by Dax Baptist with 80 yards on three catches, all three for touchdowns. “I think in the first half (Hoots) only had one incompleteness,” Creviston said. “I think he had five touchdowns in the first half – thrown for five, ran for one, that’s what I think it was.”

That’s exactly what it was. Hoots opened the scoring with a 20-yard run to give Routt a 7-0 lead with 10:32 left in the first quarter. Hoots completed touchdown passes for 21 yards to Dax Baptist, seven yards to Ethan Walker, then 46 yards to Baptist to give the Rockets a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter. A 13-yard TD pass to Baptist followed by a 33-yard pass to Walker increased the lead to 42-0 at halftime. Ryan Oswald completed all six extra kicks.

The Rockets used a lot of swing passes early in the game, with exceptional edge blocks.

“It’s something we worked on a lot in the offseason,” Creviston said. “You can’t really show that in 7-on-7 because you can’t block, but with those big receivers out there getting their hands on people and directing them and then Will Jackson and all the others we were swinging the ball to – I think Geno Daniels had a good one – and then we had a lot of other quick screens for everyone.

Routt’s attack was fast and furious. The Rockets rushed for 81 yards in four plays on the first practice. On second, they covered 21 yards in one play; then 39 yards on seven plays; 46 yards on a play; 65 yards on four plays; and finally, 70 yards on eight plays, in a drive that included personal fouls and holding penalties.

“We wanted to go out and establish go fast, go fast, and we did that,” Routt coach Barry Creviston said.

Routt added two points in the second half on a 59-yard run from Charlie Allen and a 20-yard pass from Kellan Creviston to Declan Lahey.

Michael Wilson led Routt with nine tackles. “Michael Wilson was just one man among the boys tonight,” Creviston said. “I think he had about six or seven tackles for the loss.”

Jackson made a huge difference, rushing for 82 yards on nine carries and catching three passes for 33 yards.

“Will Jackson, I know, was thrilled to be on the court,” Creviston said.

“He ran the ball hard all night. He was a key part of our defense… he is the leader of our defense and he is going to take us forward,” the coach said. “I’m excited for him for the rest of the year.”

Routt hosts Carrollton in their home opener next Saturday. Carrollton coach Rodney Flowers was in Pleasant Hill to watch on Saturday night.

“Any time you can get the first win, it just helps you – the motivation for the rest of the season, and you’re one win closer to trying to get that magic number five,” Creviston said. “We want more than that, but you have to get one before you get the others.”

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