Hazelwood Central rolled over O’Fallon 34-3 in Week 1 of the Illinois high school football season.
The Panthers held the Hawks to 15 first-half points but yielded 12 more in the fourth quarter to seal the outcome. The only O’Fallon points came on a 26-yard field goal from Brooks Hackney in the third quarter.
Raphael Bell led Hazelwood Central with touchdown runs of one and 32 yards. John Harrison Jr. connected with Jordan Tate for a 74-yard touchdown pass, and with James Whitfield on a 63-yard score.
“The defense was on the field a lot tonight and just wore down toward the end,” said O’Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst. “We didn’t sustain much on offense and were caught on a short field most of the night.”
Hazelwood Central entered the game with a win over De Smet under its belt. The Missouri season starts a week earlier than Illinois’. That likely wouldn’t have made a difference in Friday’s outcome, Joggerst said, but the added week did give the Hawks some advantage.
“It’s tough when the team you’re playing has already played, and they looked sharper than we did,” Joggest said. “It’s hard to say you played solid with as many points as we gave up, but overall the defense did some good things. They made some stands on a short field.
“There’s something to build on. We’ll learn from this.”
The game was brought to a halt in the third quarter after senior lineman Carlos Pickens went down to the turf after sacking the Hazelwood quarterback. But Joggerst said the attention was mostly precautionary and that Pickens is OK.
O’Fallon (0-1) hits the road next Friday for a 7 p.m. game at Normal West. Hazelwood Central (2-0) next faces Lindbergh.