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MAYNARD – Henry Hoogland hated being on the sideline for most of last season.
The Springville senior suffered a broken foot and couldn’t join his teammates the final five weeks. Hoogland found himself on the sideline again, but this time it was under much better circumstances.
Hoogland rushed for four touchdowns and threw for another, propelling the Orioles to a 51-12 victory over West Central in a non-district 8-player opener Friday at West Central.
The 6-foot, 186-pound running back had his hands all over a 31-point second quarter and Springville didn’t need him to touch the ball after the break.
“It’s awesome,” Hoogland said about his return. “It’s great to be back out here.
“It feels good when you’re on the sideline because you’re ahead by 35 points because of the contributions that you did with the help of your team.”
The Orioles scored on their first possession of the game. Hoogland took a Zach March pitch to the left and powered his way into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown, capping a 9-play, 52-yard drive.
Springville stalled, turning the ball over on downs and a fumble on consecutive series. The result was a 6-6 tie at the end of the first.
The Orioles and Hoogland took over. They scored on four straight series. After three straight runs, Hoogland took the snap and lofted a pass downfield to March for a 25-yard TD.
The wrinkle has been in the works for a couple seasons.
“We actually completed a pass with Henry,” Springville Coach Joe Martin said with a laugh. “We’ve been working since he was a sophomore to throw the ball with him. It was nice to get that completion.”
Hoogland scored on runs of 14, 3 and 6 yards, giving the Orioles a 37-6 halftime edge. The last came as time expired in the opening half. All three drives started in Blue Devil territory and the longest was 39 yards.
Hoogland finished with more than 100 yards of total offense. He also rushed for three conversions and kicked a PAT. Add that to his role at linebacker and kickoff duties. He doesn’t mind being busy but he likes toting the rock best.
“My favorite part is running the ball,” Hoogland said. “If I could do that all the time, just run it every time, it is fun.”
Martin said Hoogland’s leadership has been the biggest contribution so far. He is reliable and the person he turns to when the Orioles struggle, like they did on the early two possessions.
“He does a nice job of keeping things calm and cool, whether it’s a good play or a bad play,” Martin said. “He’s going to be ready for the next one.
“It’s a coach on the field, so that’s awesome.”
The offense was clicking and remained anxious to get the ball back.
“Let’s get them in here and get some more points on the board,” Hoogland said. “It makes you feel unstoppable.”
The Orioles defense was stout, leaving West Central to negative rushing yardage. The final touchdown of the first half was set up by the first of two interceptions by Kyle Koppes, who returned it to the West Central 14.
“Buckling down on defense is where we got the momentum,” Martin said. “We were able to get some three-and-outs and some turnovers.
“Kyle and Zach in the defensive backfield did a really good job for us, controlling the passing game. Up front, we were really solid.”
Hoogland was one of a few returners from last season. The Orioles suffered a couple early hiccups but adjusted. The offensive line seemed to wear down the Blue Devils, opening holes for about 285 total yards on the ground. March finished with 101 rushing yards, including a 10-yard TD in the third.
“I was very pleased,” Martin said. “We had a lot of guys in different spots. We had a lot of youth as far as varsity experience, so we didn’t know exactly what we were going to get. They did a great job.”
West Central (0-1) was led by quarterback Adam Dolf. He finished with 170 passing yards and two TDs. He connected on a 21-yard scoring strike to a diving Taylor Hepperle in the first quarter. Freshman Aidan Nelson reeled in Dolf’s 38-yard TD pass in the fourth.
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