(Festus) The Festus Tigers beat the Hillsboro Hawks for the first time in 6 years and earned a share of a conference championship with a 41-26 victory yesterday (Friday) on Jefferson County Friday Night Football on KJFF.
With first place in the MAFC Red Division on the line, the Tigers’ big-play offense showed up.
Even after star senior running back Austin Anderson was injured on the game’s first play and did not return, junior quarterback Cole Rickermann stepped up right away.
Hillsboro had a response on its opening drive courtesy of Austin Romaine.
But Festus would break up the tie game, as a deep pass from Rickermann to Daylen Wagoner set up Anderson’s replacement, Landon Bradshaw.
Tiger senior Cole Wagner came up big on the ensuing Hillsboro possession by blocking a punt, and with Anderson not in to run the ball, Rickermann took matters into his own hands.
Despite trailing 20-6, Hillsboro would not be shaken, as the Hawks held Festus scoreless the rest of the first half, and then started the third quarter with a fumble recovery and another Romaine TD run.
But after Festus got a stop on 4th and goal, Rickermann would throw a big bomb on the Serenity Hospice Care Play of the Game.
Hillsboro found paydirt again on a 65-yard run by Tyler Watson to get the Hawks within 27-18.
But Festus had more big plays and some help from over 100 yards in Hillsboro penalties to set up Rickermann’s second rushing TD.
Trailing 34-18 heading into the fourth quarter, Hillsboro kept on trucking, as Romaine found the end zone for a third time and helped make it a one-score game.
Romaine finished with over 170 yards from scrimmage.
But it would not be enough, as Festus put one more drive together to ice the win.
Rickermann passed for 264 yards and rushed for another 44 on his way to being Applebee’s Player of the Game.
But he said it just felt good to end a 7-game losing streak to their conference rivals.
Festus did commit 2 turnovers and racked up over 100 yards in penalties.
But Tigers head coach A.J. Ofodile said, as much as there is still areas that they can improve, he was proud of how his whole team showed up on offense after Anderson went down.
Hillsboro falls to 2-3 and will look to bounce back at Windsor next week.
Now 5-0, Festus is 3-0 in the MAFC Red Division and can win the league outright for the first time since 2014 with a victory over North County next week.
You’ll be able to hear that game on AM 1400 KJFF.
To hear the full game broadcast again, click play below.