The Warriors found the going rough in their home opener Friday as they fell 42-3 to Hastings at the Schuyler football complex.
Connor Laux was a nightmare for the Warriors as he shredded the Schuyler defense for 135 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 carries. He also caught two passes for 9 yards and threw for another 48 yards, giving him 192 total yards of offense.
Schuyler senior quarterback Mason Kovar did everything he could to offset the performance by Laux. He completed nine passes on 15 attempts for 134 yards, but the Warriors struggled to get points on the scoreboard.
Hastings (1-1) passed for 204 yards and ran for 262 while Schuyler had 103 rushing yards on 42 attempts to go along with Kovar’s passing performance.
Jesus Maganda led the Schuyler ground game with 39 yards on 11 carries and had a team-best four receptions for 71 yards. Isaac Hernandez added 26 yards rushing on six carries and Tyler Kohl had two grabs for 27 yards.
Hastings scored on its first offensive possession, driving the ball 41 yards on four plays, capped by a 10-yard pass from quarterback Alex Swoboda to Tate Pfeifer.
Pfeifer scored the Tigers’ second touchdown from a yard out with three seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
With eight minutes to go in the first half, Laux threw a beautiful 38-yard strike to Damen Pape, putting the ball at the Schuyler 9-yard line. Laux carried it in from there to put Hastings up 21-0.
On Schuyler’s ensuing offensive series, Kovar connected with Maganda on a 26-yard strike to the Hastings 24-yard line. Two running plays and an incomplete pass netted SCHS only 1 yard, setting up a 40-yard field goal Maganda sent sailing through the uprights.
Schuyler head coach Aaron Thumann knew his team could move the ball against the Tigers, but hoped for more scoring early on.
“We knew we had opportunities. We knew that we would have open gaps. We knew that we were more than capable of moving the ball on them,” he said. “We just needed to be more consistent.”
Hastings drove to the Schuyler 7-yard line in the waning moments of the first half, but a fourth-down pass from Swoboda to Laux in the corner of the end zone was overthrown, keeping the score at 21-3 entering the break.
Hastings opened the second half with a barrage of big runs as the Tigers had gains of 24, 21, 7 and 21 yards on four straight plays before Laux found the end zone again on a 7-yard run.
“We need to reflect on the way that Hastings came out to open up the second half. We had a really good talk and made some adjustments at halftime. They obviously wanted to get Laux the ball as he is a tremendous athlete,” Thumann said. “They just came right out and hit us in the mouth.”
Hastings added two more touchdowns in the second half on a 9-yard pass from Swoboda to Pape and 1-yard run by Luke Wilke.
“We took some pretty good shots and that was an absolutely physical game. We always get Hastings’ best shot,” Thumann said. “We always seem to play a pretty solid game against them.”
Defensively, the Warriors were led by Caleb Novak, who had nine tackles. Maganda and Tychique Kutalu recorded six tackles each and Rosel Diaz had five.
Schuyler (0-2) hosts York at 7 p.m. Friday.
“York is really good and they have a lot of talent. York is a team that we have always been able to get up for. We have a group of kids who really get up for these big games,” Thumann said. “We have found some weaknesses with them in the past and we just hope that we can take advantages of those this time around.”