HIGHLAND â€” Highlandâ€™s football team passed its first test in District 7-1A Six-Man, Division I with flying colors Friday as the Hornets overpowered Rotan, 59-12, in their opener.
Next up: another home date this Thursday with un-beaten Ira, the No. 1-ranked team in Division I.
It was the fifth straight win for Highland (5-3 overall), which won by the 45-point mercy rule for the third time while Rotan fell to 3-5. But the Hornets had to play almost a full game before closing out Rotan with 4:21 to play on a 35-yard scoring run by El Shelton.
While the offense gained 415 yards, including 355 on the ground, the defense was just as good. Highland did not allow a point until the third quarter and by then, the Hornets led 29-6. Rotan finished with 184 yards of offense on the night, and the Yellowhammers were just 2-0f-9 for 23 yards through the air.
Michael Hyde led High-landâ€™s rushing game again as he ran for 205 yards on 13 carries with three TDs. Shelton (5, 51) scored twice on runs and Shelby Howard (3, 48) once, while Isaac Rios added 51 yards on four totes and scored on a 60-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter immediately after Rotanâ€™s second and last touchdown.
Quarterback Jacob Rich-burg attempted just two passes, but his only comple-tion resulted in a 50-yard touchdown to Gaga Soed-arsono in the first quarter. In addition, Richburg caught a 10-yard pass from Ethan Wilson.
Soedarsono had a huge defensive game with 17 solo tackles, including two sacks, plus two assists. Howard also had a sack plus six other tackles, four assists and a fumble recovery. Hyde had seven solo tackles and five assists, Jon Basye had four solo tackles and four assists and Richburg had three solo tackles and four assists for the Hornets.