TIPTON — The 1-2 senior combination of Austin Hooker and Nate Hein led Class 2A No.4-ranked Tipton to a 28-7 victory over Class 3A No. 1-ranked Hamilton Heights in Friday night’s season opener.
Tipton’s offensive line of tackles Luke Shively and Brody Blake, guards Isaac Schmitt and Chris Bell and center Bryce Calvin dominated the line of scrimmage, allowing Hooker to run 20 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns and Hein to rush 23 times for 115 yards and a TD. Hooker also completed 6 of 12 passes for 57 yards — all in the first half — and three of those incompletions were on spikes to kill the clock late in the first half. Hein caught two of those passes for 25 yards.
“We did an awesome job up front,” Tipton coach Aaron Tolle said. “But we are supposed to. We have four returning starters and we knew when we the season started that was our strength and we should be able to count on that. Our backs [also] ran great. Our quarterback and backs were much improved over last Friday [in the scrimmage with Western].”
Hamilton Heights coach Mitch Street said: “We are banged up up front. But that’s not an excuse, we got dominated. Their experience, their size, their physicality just was too much. If they stay healthy, they can are going to be a special team. When they are as strong up front and you add Hooker into the mix. They’ve got good balance. A quarterback is hard to defense anyway but when he’s 220 or 225 pounds, he’s hard to bring down. We didn’t respond very well [Friday].”
The Blue Devils took charge from the get go, outgaining the Huskies 107 yards to 1 and building a 7-0 lead.
“Offensively, we challenged our offensive line this week,” Tolle said. “We feel this is the strength of our team as we start more experience there as we do anywhere else. We wanted to put the game in their hands and we made some great runs to put us on top. I thought our defense came out and was stellar on their first three or four possessions. We stopped the run, pressured the passer.”