HICKSVILLE -- The Aces of Hicksville grabbed a 14-0 lead before its defense ever stepped onto the field and, even then, they had no trouble in stopping Ayersville, as they rolled to a 49-3 victory to stay unbeaten in Green Meadows Conference play.
The Aces' defense, one week after yielding a mere 37 yards of total offense against Wayne Trace, held the Pilots to 165 yards, but only 18 at halftime. The Pilots (2-5, 0-4 GMC) also turned the ball over three times and made costly mental mistakes.
"Young football team making way too many young mistakes," Ayersville mentor Chris Dales said of his team, which was outgained 437-165. "Sooner or later we have got to grow up. If we don't grow up, this is what's going to happen. It just shows our youth when we don't even recover a kickoff that's still near the goal line. I'm not taking anything away from (Hicksville), they're a good football team and we have to eventually start doing things right."
The Aces had two fumble recoveries, an interception, a blocked punt, a kickoff recovery, five sacks and scored on seven of 11 offensive possessions.
"We benefitted from a few turnovers on offense and on special teams," noted Hicksville coach Lucas Smith. "Our special teams played well, I think we were perfect on PATs tonight, we blocked a punt, we recovered that kick nice and deep in their territory. I was pretty unhappy with some of our guys at halftime because we were trying to do a little too much and we had a nice little chat at halftime and our defense played even better, I felt, in the second half."
Hicksville went on a long opening drive which started at its own 12-yard line.
The Ayersville defense buckled down as the Aces made it to the Pilot 20 with Tate Ankney tackling Justin Miller for a loss, Colton Relyea breaking up a second-and-16 pass and Joe Goonan holding Kaleb Johns to a 1-yard gain on a Miller pass to set up fourth-and-15 all following a 5-yard Aces' penalty.
But on fourth down from the 25, Miller sent a bullet to Shane Bostic, who ran down the right sideline and cut left hauling in the pass at the 2-yard line and running into the end zone to cap off a 12-play, 88-yard drive.
"Right as I cut, I saw the ball and took a little jab to the left and caught it behind me, but it was a well-placed ball and pretty easy to catch," said Bostic. "Justin had a great ball."
On the ensuing kickoff, Seth Klepper and the Aces kicked the ball deep out of a bunch formation with Bostic streaking down the sideline. As the ball hit the ground and came to a stop at the 3-yard line, Bostic noticed that no Pilot was making a play on it, and he sprinted even faster.
"I saw the kids, they just weren't going to the ball and so I just sprinted as fast as I could and as hard as I could and dove for it," said the junior, who came up with the ball. "It feels good when you make plays."
The offense wasted little time as Miller called his own number and took it in for a 3-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead five seconds after the first score.
Normally a more run-dominated team, the Aces took to the air for 258 yards on 15-of-20 passing.
Once the Aces' defense finally hit the field, they were relentless.
Senior Zac Stoll had two of his school-record tying four sacks on the first Pilot offensive series, bringing down Relyea twice for a combined loss of 27 yards.
"We did our job, we were fast, and I can't say it was all me, the other D-linemen were getting pressure and he bounced back to me, kind of a lucky thing, gotta thank everyone for it," said Stoll, who picked up his other two sacks in the second quarter.
Klepper scored two touchdowns to help the Aces to a 28-0 halftime lead and scored on a 4-yard run two plays after Miller recovered a Pilot fumble to open the third quarter.
Miller finished with 235 yards through the air on 13-of-17 and added 70 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Dean Conley had six catches for 128 yards, including a 25-yard TD reception, and also recovered a fumble.
Justin Flory had 128 yards on 28 carries for the Pilots, which scored on a Onni Juvonen field goal following a timeout with two seconds left in the game.
Hicksville travels to Holgate on Friday, while the Pilots are home to take on county rival Tinora.
First Downs 12 19
Rushing Yards 53-149 34-179
Passing Yards 16 258
Total Yards 165 437
Passing 3-9-0 15-20-2
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties 6-70 11-103
Ayersville 0 0 0 3 - 3
Hicksville 14 14 14 7 - 49
H - Bostic 25-pass from Miller (Klepper kick).
H - Miller 3-run (Klepper kick).
H - Klepper 3-run (Klepper kick).
H - Klepper 6-run (Klepper kick).
H - Klepper4-run (Klepper kick).
H - Conley 25-pass from Miller (Klepper kick).
H - Johns 33-run (Klepper kick).
A - Juvonen 18-yard field goal.
RUSHING: Ayersville - Flory 27-128; McFadden 15-58; Perez 7-(-15); Relyea 4-(-22). Hicksville - Miller 10-70; Johns 6-65; Klepper 10-23; Hart 3-14; Giesige 1-5; Yoder 1-1; Wulff 1-(-2). PASSING: Ayersville - Relyea 3-8-0-16; Perez 0-1-1-0. Hicksville - Miller 13-17-0-235; Yoder - 2-3-0-23. RECEIVING: Ayersville - McFadden 1-12; Hagerman 1-4; Perez 1-0. Hicksville - Conley 6-128; Sexton 4-56; Bostic 1-25; Emenhiser 1-25; Hart 1-14; Turk 1-9; Johns 1-1.