HENNESSEY — Hennessey seems poised for another deep playoff run.
Behind 248 yards rushing by tailback Levi Hill, the two-time defending state 2A football champion pounded Alva, 41-21, Thursday night and claimed the District 2A-1 title.
“I think we are getting there,” Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen said. “We feel like we are starting to gel a little bit on offense and defense.
“A lot of young kids we started this year are starting to come around. We are excited about where we are at this point.”
The Eagles completed an unbeaten District 2A-1 schedule, losing only to Class 3A powers Jones and Kingfisher in non-district play.
Hill, who shared carries with Ivan Moreno the past two seasons, became the featured tailback this year with Moreno's graduation. The senior running back said this year's Eagles are just as good as the past two state title teams.
“I think we are lot closer (as a team),” said Hill, who scored on touchdown runs of 9 and 21 yards Thursday night. “I think we are just as talented as we were the past two years. I think we got a good chance to get three in a row.”
Hill carried the ball 33 times against the Goldbugs.
“He is a workhorse,” Luetjen said. “We knew this year coming in he was going to be the guy. He was not going to be trading snaps with Ivan this year. He has done a great job for us. He is starting to run a lot harder now and starting to get a feel for it.”
Hennessey raced to a 21-0 lead in the first half, but Alva responded with two touchdown passes by quarterback Ty Hooper in the second quarter to cut the lead to 21-13 at halftime.
But the Eagles marched 51 yards for a score to open the third quarter, capped by Hill's second touchdown run, and never looked back.
Steven Lott caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another for the Eagles. Hennessey quarterback Dylan Hatchel threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another.
“I think we were just more physical tonight,” Hill said. “I think we did a great job on offense, and our defense stepped up too.”
Luetjen being physical is the key for Hennessey.
“Our kids come out and hit hard, and that's what we try to establish early in the game,” Luetjen said. “I think we did that.”