Sterling fans might want to head out to the stadium on Friday nights in bigger numbers this season. Calvin Hill is a senior and time is running out on his high school career.
Hill added several highlights to his HUDL profile Friday night, rushing for 307 yards and five touchdowns in a 44-34 win over Aldine Nimitz. Hill had a lot of success with the counter, finding running room behind the pulling linemen.
“That’s the good thing about being a small back,” he said. “They can’t see you going through the holes.”
Hill said the team has been working on the running game.
“The line got with it tonight and I thanked them for it.”
The Rangers won despite losing the turnover battle 3-0. The final turnover allowed the Cougars to tie the game at 28 early in the fourth quarter. The defense, which has had its struggles, rose up and made consecutive stops, the first of which ended with a safety. A bad snap on a punt ended with the ball out of the end zone and a 30-28 lead. Hill and E.J. Hawkins scored touchdowns on the next two possessions to give Sterling a commanding 44-28 lead with 1:34 left in the game. Nimitz scored a late touchdown to end the game.
“We kind of let them get momentum but we were going to fight back,” Sterling linebacker Pablo Aguilera said. “We just had to keep on fighting.
“I love that team. It may seem we are down and out but we are not. We are going to keep on going.”
Sterling had control in the first half, leading 14-0. Hawkins attempted to force a pass that was underthrown and intercepted. The Cougars made it count, taking advantage of the short field. Austin Remo hit Timberland Sanders on a 14-yard strike in the back of the end zone to close within 14-7 at the half.
“If you look at the game, defensively, we played well in the first quarter,” Sterling head coach Robert Toomer said.
Toomer said the team had worked on sudden changes, regaining momentum after a turnover and the team fell short of its goal. He added he challenged the defense and it responded.
“I stressed we would not win without them playing well,” he said. “I was really proud of them tonight. They did a good job.”
Both team scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. Sterling did not make it easy, turning the ball over twice, including the interception that allowed the game-tying score. But the defense settled down and the offense made plays to seal the first win of the season.
Toomer said Hill had a great game and gave credit to quarterback E.J. Hawkins and members of the receiving corps for stepping up and making plays.
He was also pleased with how the team fought adversity.
“I think when you have a special kid, you utilize him but you also have some guys to take the pressure off,” Toomer said. “They did that tonight.”
Hawkins ran for 73 yards and a score and completed 4 of 7 passes for 49 yards. Sterling threw for 82 yards with KJ Watch finishing with one reception for 31 yards.
The Rangers will host Houston Austin Friday.