The Hopkins football team’s regular season consists of only 10 games. This in effect makes every matchup a must-win game if the team is to legitimately contend for a postseason berth.
That being said, you can bet that the Blue Jays marked a star on their calendars next to their Sept. 29 matchup with Ursinus College. Last year, the Bears eked out a 21-17 victory over the Blue Jays, their first regular season loss since 2012. With Ursinus entering the matchup a perfect 4-0, the Blue Jays had their eyes set on flipping the script, and they did so in an emphatic fashion.
Hopkins opened up the scoring in the first quarter, as senior running back Stuart Walters carried the ball into the end zone from six yards out. The Bears quickly responded with a touchdown of their own, on a 75-yard reception from freshman wide receiver Ryan Loughlin. However, they were unable to tie the game due to a blocked extra point by freshman defensive back Chris James.
Any momentum that Ursinus built up after the touchdown quickly dissipated, as they were kept not only out of the end zone but also off the scoreboard altogether for the remainder of the game. The Blue Jays added two more touchdowns in the first quarter, the first on sophomore wide receiver Zac Fernandez’s 15-yard reception and the latter on Walters’ second score — another six-yard run.
Hopkins tallied another three touchdowns in the second quarter. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Hubley and senior running back Tyler Messinger caught 19 and 76-yard passes, and Messinger added another score on an eight-yard rush.
After the game, Messinger discussed the key factors that set up his highlight touchdown catch.
“For the long receiving TD, it was definitely practice and coaching. The play worked exactly as the coaches drew it up in practice. The line opened it up well, [junior quarterback] David [Tammaro] threw a great ball, and it was my job to do the rest,” Messinger said.
The 42-6 halftime score all but guaranteed the Blue Jays a blowout victory over the Bears, who had watched their hopes of back-to-back wins against Hopkins vanish before their very eyes.
Hopkins extended its lead in the second half, outscoring Ursinus 10-0. Junior running back Hogan Irwin had a one-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter and junior kicker Mike Eberle drilled a 22-yard field goal in the fourth. The Blue Jays ultimately secured their resounding victory, 52-6.
Hopkins posted impressive statistics during the game on both sides of the ball. On offense, Tammaro threw for 360 yards, while Walters led the rushing attack with 99 yards on the ground. Messinger picked up 61 rushing yards of his own, as well as a team-high 99 receiving yards. 12 different Blue Jays recorded at least one reception, while Ursinus had only 11 total catches the entire game.
Messinger discussed his individual performance and the offensive unit as a whole, which appears to be clicking on all cylinders.
“I’m just doing anything to help the team win. Wherever the coaches want to put me, I’ll do the best job I can. We have an extremely talented team that can make dynamic plays every drive,” Messinger said.
As for the defense, freshman linebacker Robert Fletcher led the team with eight total tackles. In the secondary, senior defensive back Michael Curry and sophomore defensive back Macauley Kilbane each picked up an interception.
Hopkins has now annihilated each of its past three opponents, and all signs are pointing up as the team enters the second half of its regular season.
“The past few weeks, we’ve been practicing at a high level. The energy and focus at practice has been great, and it directly translates to how we have been playing on Saturdays. We are setting a new standard for practice every week moving forward,” Messinger said.
Up next, the Blue Jays will travel to Lancaster, Pa. on Oct. 6 where they will take on the 4-1 Franklin & Marshall College Diplomats.