The Stone High football team countered a tenacious East Central running game with explosive plays and came away with a 42-21 Division 4-5A victory Friday at Hurley.
The Tomcats defense left everything on the field as the Hornets utilized a ball-control which ran 96 plays to just 38 for Stone.
"They just pounded it," Coach Adam Stone said of the East Central offense.
Jake Eaker gained 173 yards on 39 carries while Canen Cooper carried the ball 30 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns as the Hornets amassed 325 yards on the ground.
In comparison, Stone's Justin Smith carried the ball just 17 times yet gained 219 yards and scored three times.
"We had explosive plays, obviously," Stone said. "We had just 38 plays and 300 yards of offense."
The Hornets drove to the Stone 26-yard line on their first possession before turning the ball over on downs.
It took the Tomcats just five plays to record the first score of the game as Smith went 20 yards around the left end for the touchdown.
He had romped 53 yards to the end zone on the previous play, only to have it called back because of block in the back.
Mason Hunt kicked the first of six PATs and the Tomcats had a 7-0 lead with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
After trading punts, the Tomcats got an interception by Demerick Fairley and two plays later, Chandler Jones went 43 yards on a sweep, assisted by a crushing block by Khalil Washington.
With 10:44 left in the half, Stone had a 14-0 lead.
The Hornets put together a 13-play, 65-yard drive capped off with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone by Cooper.
Colton Johnson connected on the PAT to cut the lead to 14-7.
Then, for the second time this season, the Tomcats failed to cover an onside kick.
Three plays later, Zac Syverson recovered an East Central fumble and returned it for what appeared to be a touchdown, only to have it called back on another illegal block.
After two incomplete passes from the East Central 38, Chandler Jones lost the handle and the Hornets recovered and went 60 yards in seven plays with Justin Plummer hitting Jarik Biggs with a 25-yard TD pass with 1:16 remaining in the half.
Johnson's kick sailed wide and the Tomcats took a 14-13 lead into the locker room.
Smith scored again just three plays into the third quarter and the Hornets answered on their next possession, adding a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21.
Smith scored his third touchdown of the night on Stone's next possession and then ZAc Syverson got real busy.
After taking a chewing out from defensive coach Freddie Wegner for getting called for pass interference, Syverson went back out and intercepted a pass, returning it 68 yards for a touchdown as the third quarter clock expired.
He then smashed a member of the Hornets' return team on the ensuing kickoff.
"He got fired up, didn't he," Stone said.
Quarterback Clayton Johnson closed out the scoring with a 3-yard keep on the option in the fourth quarter.
Stone said he didn't know why his team seemed to respond better in the second half; which it has done in several games so far.
"I don't know whether they use the first half to see what the other team's made of or what," he said. "If we could figure that out, we'd have them come out that way in the first quarter."
With all the time East Central took up on offense, the Stone defenders had the opportunity to rack up huge stats.
Caleb Amacker registered 14 solo tackles and 11 assists, with two of those tackles for loss.
Cody Conner had 10 solo and nine assists while Chris Blanchard contributed nine solo and nine assists and caused a fumble.