United North Central began its debut as a 9-man football team with an impressive opening drive in the season opener at Menahga on Aug. 30. But a turnover ended that drive and Hancock controlled the rest of the game in a 44-8 victory.
The Warriors opened the game with a 19-play drive before Hancock recovered a fumble at the 9. Hancock opened the scoring on Tyler Timmerman’s 48-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-2 and Isaac Nienhaus’ conversion for an 8-0 lead with 3:42 to play in the first quarter.
Hancock scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to carry a 38-0 lead into the intermission.
Preston Rohloff’s 16-yard pass to Daniel Milander and Timmerman’s conversion made it 16-0 with 11:38 to play in the first half. Rohloff found Luke Joos on a 9-yard TD pass on fourth-and-goal to give the Owls a 22-0 lead at the 8:11 mark. After the Warriors used a 50-yard reception by Tyce Lee to reach the Hancock 14, the Owls held and took over at the 16. Nienhaus’ 33-yard TD run and Gideon Joos’ conversion gave Hancock a 30-0 lead with 3:20 to play in the first half before a 59-yard pass from Rohloff to Timmerman and Devon Schroeder’s conversion at the 1:07 mark produced the 38-0 halftime advantage.
Hancock pushed the lead to 44-0 before UNC concluded the scoring on Kolby Kiser’s 1-yard quarterback sneak and Jonah Howard’s conversion in the fourth quarter.
Kiser completed 11 of 18 passes for 123 yards with Eion Ness (50 yards), Lee (48 yards), Howard (16 yards) and Brandon Miller (9 yards) being the primary receivers. Miller (45 yards), Howard (44 yards), Kiser (15 yards) and Reid Pinoniemi (7 yards) led the Warriors’ rushing attack.
Ness (six solo tackles, three assists), Lee (five solo tackles), Miller (six assisted tackles), Howard (three solo tackles, three assists), Ivan Anderson (four assisted tackles) and Logan Torma (three solo tackles, two assists) led UNC’s defense.
“Overall, I felt pretty good about the way we played in our opener. The second quarter was rough. We just couldn’t get a stop and they came up with some big plays,” said UNC head coach Luke Roberts. “We came out in the second half and didn’t dwell on the first half. I told them at halftime our focus was the third and fourth quarters and that’s what they did. We won the second half and that is something for us to build on. They could have given up and not fought back, but every player gave it 100 percent until the end of the game. As long as they continue to give their best effort, we will have a successful season.”