HNHS Vikings fall to Homestead in season opening home football game

HNHS Viking Matt Kramer (No. 23) takes down Homestead’s Steven Espinoza (No. 10), as Viking Nick Miller (No. 34) gets ready to assist in the tackle.
HNHS Viking Matt Kramer (No. 23) takes down Homestead’s Steven Espinoza (No. 10), as Viking Nick Miller (No. 34) gets ready to assist in the tackle. Photo by Matt Murphy.

The Huntington North High School varsity football team suffered a 31-17 loss to the visiting Homestead Spartans at the team's season opener at on Friday night, Aug. 21, despite valiant efforts by the Vikings.

Both sides came out strong and quick, as both defenses prevented any scoring in the first quarter despite the teams piling up 14 first downs, which wound up being more than any other quarter and more than the entire second half.

The scoreboard lit up in the second quarter when Spartan quarterback Zach Terrell scored the first touchdown of the game with 8:55 left in the half. Austin Wilburn had the extra point.

Homestead scored a second time with 1:16 left in the first half, when Conor Price caught a 29-yard pass from Terrell. Wilburn hit his second extra point of the game.

The Vikings made their first impact on the scoreboard with a 35-yard field goal by Viking quarterback Mitch Vezeau with only one second left in the half, making the halftime score 14-3, Homestead.

The third quarter saw another Spartan touchdown by Colin Harruff after he grabbed a 22-yard pass from Terrell. Again, Wilburn had the extra point.

Wilburn hit a 24-yard field goal for the Spartans with 5:23 left in the third quarter to boost the Homestead advantage to 24-3. their largest lead of the night.

Huntington North scored its first touchdown of the season and game with a 57-yard jaunt by running back Austin Shoemaker. Vezeau scored the extra point.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings narrowed the gap to one touchdown when Vezeau scored a quick touchdown with 11:53 left in the game. Vezeau kicked the extra point.

However, hopes of a comeback were dashed after Spartan running back Cody Appenzeller caught a 13-yard pass from Terrell during a one-play drive to score the final touchdown of the game with 7:08 left. Wilburn kicked the extra point to bring the score to its final mark.

Shoemaker led all players with a combined offensive yardage of 210 yards including one touchdown. Matt Kramer and Dillon Kinsey led the defense with nine tackles and one assist, and eight takes and one assist, respectively.

Overall, Homestead outplayed Huntington North in nearly all statistics. The Spartans had 271 rushing yards compared to the Vikes' 217. Viking quarterback Mitch Vezeau had 19 attempts with 7 completions, compared to Spartan Zach Terrell's 26 attempts and 21 completions - three of which were touchdowns. Homestead had 239 receiving yards against Huntington North's 111.

Each team had two fumbles, with Homestead recovering both of its own, and Huntington North recovering neither of its fumbles.

The Viking defense had 52 total tackles, versus the Spartans' 36.

The Vikings' next game is Aug. 28, when they visit Columbia City at 7 p.m. The next home game is Sept. 4 against Richmond High School.