With the departure of Kentrail Moran as O’Fallon’s premier running back, the 2016 OTHS football squad had some very large shoes to fill.
Fortunately for the Panthers, Mason Hewitt was waiting in the wings. Having shown promise as O’Fallon’s number two runner last fall, Hewitt stepped into the role of OTHS’ first offensive option, and last Friday solidified that position in no uncertain terms.
The Panther senior ran roughshod over, around and through the Normal West defense in O’Fallon’s home-opener victory over the Wildcats, 48-35.
Hewitt rushed for 225 yards on 30 carries and added 275 yards on kick returns for an amazing 500 total yards for the game a total that eclipsed the previous record set by Erin Wilson in 2008. Many teams strive for the 500-yard mark in a game. Hewitt accomplished the feat individually – undeniable credentials to be named this week’s top athlete.
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“We needed to score a lot to keep pace with Normal West’s dynamic offense,” said O’Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst.
“Fortunately, Hewitt was equal to the task. He doesn’t need to finesse tacklers to gain an advantage. He is a strong kid and has the ability to run over people as well as out-quick them on occasion. His performance was phenomenal, and, as it turned out, we needed every bit of it to secure the victory.”
“It might have been my best game ever,” said the Panther senior, the son of Debbie and Wade Hewitt, “My offensive line created lanes for me to use. They get a lot of the credit. It was just a matter of running to daylight. Succeeding in sports depends on practice, and I have put in a lot of time and effort to being the best I can be.”
“I play football because it is fun and challenging,” added the Panther running back. “It has made me a better person. I began playing football when I was six. My dad signed me up for a league because we were always playing together.
“My success in the sport has come because I work hard, have great coaches and get support from my family, friends and teammates.”