The first one covered 72 yards on Homestead's opening snap of the 2014 season, a short dart to Carlos Sanchez which he promptly parlayed into points.
Barely two minutes later, Ben Skowronek caught a post pass and raced 50 yards for another Spartans score.
A mere 54 seconds would pass before sophomore Matt Anderson was tiptoeing along the new field turf at Homestead High for a 33-yard pick six.
By the time Skowronek made two more TD grabs from senior quarterback Logan Ormsby, the Spartans were ahead 35-6 with 11:36 to go – in the first half. Heck, Homestead didn't attempt its first official running play until the 7:12 mark of the second quarter on a John Lark jet sweep.
Skowronek, a 6-foot-4 budding star, would snare another scoring snatch – this time on a perfectly thrown, 3-yard fade from Ormsby – to officially put a dagger in visiting Huntington North with 2:26 to go before halftime.
The scoreboard reflected a miserable reality for the visiting Vikes: 42-6, at the break. “We didn't play well,” said Huntington North coach Trent Fine, moments after the mauling was mercifully final at 49-6. “You can't be happy with a performance like this. But that offense is really good.”
That's the understatement of the night. Ormsby completed 16 of 25 pass attempts for a school-record 421 yards and six TDs, while Skowronek established program marks for receiving yards (208) and receiving scores (four) in a game. Sanchez had Ormsby's other two TD tosses, finishing with 136 yards on just three catches, while Lark had five grabs for 67 yards. Amazingly, most of the damage took place before intermission.
The quick-strike scoring explosion may be the most proficient ever in the Chad Zolman era, where prolific offenses have been the norm. “Never in a first game for sure,” Zolman recalled. “We've got some kids that we know have some talent. They executed at a pretty high level in that first quarter; it was pretty impressive.”
Said Ormsby afterward: “We were clicking in the first half. All I had to do was throw the ball up. Our receivers are amazing. I just throw it up and they bring it down, and get some good yards. We know what we can do, but we need to make sure we don't get big heads.”
It wasn't all video-game heroics for host Homestead, debuting its new field turf in highlight-reel fashion, but not without a few hiccups of its own. There were errant passes by Ormsby – balls that were thrown behind intended targets – and a third-quarter interception on a misread. There were some missed assignments by the offensive line and some missed tackles by the defense. Skowronek even drew the ire of an assistant coach for attempting the second of two one-handed grabs on a misfired goal-line pass.
“We just have to go back (to practice) and work hard,” Skowronek said afterward, giving credit to everybody else but himself. “Our line blocked good and Logan was throwing dimes all night.”
For every dime that Ormsby threw, the Vikings' aerial attack was producing pennies. The Homestead defense relentlessly pursued the Huntington North QB, forcing three interceptions and limiting the Vikings to just 40 passing yards (27 on one play).
“I thought our defense played pretty well tonight,” Zolman said. “But I didn't like how we played in the second half, necessarily. We had a lull there in the third quarter. I think it's a maturity thing. You have to play like you don't know what the score is.”
When you're scoring at will, and it's the first game of the season, you have to call plays the same way. Especially in the first half of the season-opener, when virtually every play-call hits a home run.
“We came out in the third quarter and our goal was to get our guys one series,” said Homestead offensive coordinator Bill Skelton. “I don't think we had a first down the first three series (of the second half). But after that last one (a 39-yard Ormsby-to-Sanchez connection), we were done. You want to be respectful. We told (our players) at halftime, 'Don't let off the gas. Put the pedal to the floor.'”
From full throttle, to cruise control, to idling in neutral, the Homestead offense will now regroup for Week 2. “We can't take anything for granted,” Ormsby said. “We need to make sure we come out Monday (at practice), ready to play.”
The Vikings' few highlights included Colten Nall's acrobatic sideline catch for 27 yards, Corbin Clarke's big hit on Ormsby and Brady Hill's 9-yard scoring scamper in the first quarter.
“(The Spartans) have had the upper hand (in this series) the last eight or nine years,” Fine said. “Our kids knew that coming into tonight. We wanted to play hard; my kids fought hard. We just made mistakes early and often, and you can't do that against a team that's talented and well coached.”
Great win, still a lot of room for improvement. Time to focus on Valpo. The hard work is starting to pay off.— Homestead Football (@HHSSpartansFB) August 23, 2014