Herculaneum traveled to Fredericktown in Week 2 of Friday Night Football and just owned the night with a 22-14 victory to move to 2-0 on the young season. The Blackcats were coming off a Week 1 blowout win over Windsor (who’ve gotten the better of them the last two years), giving them their first Week 1 win in two years. The Blackcats of Fredericktown were coming into Week 2 with a 1-0 record for the first time in almost a decade.
Somehow, things started out rough for Herky, as the first half proved to be no walk in the park. After turning the ball over and committing costly penalties, Fredericktown would capitalize after a high snap over the head of Herculaneum’s punter in their own endzone, resulting in a safety.
The first quarter also saw Fredericktown score on their next possession with a pass that connected in the end zone with 2:00 minutes left. After a failed two-point conversion attempt it put them up 8-0.
Then the Herky squad showed grit on the defensive side of the ball during the first half. Fredericktown’s offense had several chances to extend the lead in the first half after Herculaneum’s mistakes gave them several possessions inside their own 30 yard line, as Coach Boss noted, “Offensively, the first half couldn’t have gone much worse, with penalties, fumbles and a safety.” Still, they managed to keep the game close.
The halftime talk for Head Coach Blane Boss must have hit home, because the Blackcats came out looking like a totally different team in the second half. The Herculaneum defense stood strong and were able to take advantage of three Fredericktown turnovers that put the visiting Blackcats in relatively good field position. This gave stalwart Quarterback Jackson Dearing a chance to build on his incredible Week 1 output, and he wasted no time, hitting receiver Lucas Bahr for a 42-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. After a failed two-point conversion to tie the game, the visiting Blackcats found themselves back in the game but trailing 8-6.
Fredericktown’s offense wasn’t going to let a comeback happen that easily though, as their QB constantly challenged the Herculaneum defense with his ability to extend plays on the ground. Yet, it was their hard-nosed running back who would extend the lead with a 32-yard touchdown run, giving Fredericktown a 14-6 advantage.
When the chips are down the best bet is to play your game… and that’s exactly what Herky did. The fourth quarter was up for grabs though and, in true storybook fashion, the final frame of the game belonged to Herculaneum as Dearing found Bahr for a 29-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14 with a successful two-point conversion.
The two biggest heroes this season connected in the most crucial of times to get the game back to even. And just like that, Dearing then found Bahr on a screen pass that found pay dirt from 60 yards out and Herky was suddenly in an amazing place. With a triumphant two-point conversion, the score was 22-14 and Herky had their first 2-0 start in 11 years.
Defense was paramount in this one and it didn’t go unnoticed by Herky’s Head Coach. “The game plan was to keep everyone in front of us on defense and tackle well. Defensively I think we did execute and our defense definitely kept us in the game.”
Offensively, Dearing threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 151 yards, while his favorite target had a game to remember with four catches for 148 yards. Defensively, Mike Moloney recorded the lone sack for Herculaneum, but produced 12 tackles and assisted on five others.
Coach Boss was pleased with his team’s effort in the second half, saying, ” the second half showed our kids’ character with how they kept battling and found their way out of the hole,” Boss said. “They showed tremendous heart and never quit.”
The Blackcats will take their undefeated 2-0 record back home, where they will host Jefferson R-7 (1-1) next Friday at 7 p.m. at Herculaneum High School.