LINCOLN, Neb. — Howells-Dodge entered Monday's Class D2 title game as the reigning D1 champs while also riding a 25-game winning streak. None of that phased Hitchcock County though as the Falcons trusted their grit and determination on defense.
"Our defense was able to do so good because we go through a lot in practice," said senior Keynan Gaston. "We all do a good job of following our keys and flowing to the ball."
HC started developing their strength as a defense off the field, whether in the weight room or through the cohesion fostered amongst the players.
"We've been working together," said senior Drew Scott. "We know each other well. We hang out all the time and the chemistry between us really shows we can do it."
Their confidence then grew in practice and blossomed in games, especially on the biggest stage.
"Defensively, that's what we've hung our hat on all year," said head coach Randall Rath. "Our kids did a great job adjusting at halftime and made plays."
Hitchcock County tied a season-high of 12 points allowed in the first half, but with words of encouragement from Coach Rath and defensive changes, the Falcons held the Jaguars scoreless through the final 24 minutes.
This helped secure a 22-12 victory and the school's inaugural State Championship trophy.
"It feels amazing that the defense was able to hold 'em as good as we did and let us put up points on offense to win the game," said Gaston.