The Hopkins football team made their season debut with a road game against the Stevenson University Mustangs this past weekend. The Jays’ last game before this one came nearly two years ago, when they played the Mustangs in the Centennial and Middle Atlantic Conference Bowl and won 51-28.
Much like the result of the last time these two teams met, the Jays came out victorious by an even wider margin, winning 53-18.
Junior quarterback Ryan Stevens capped off a 16-play drive when he found graduate student wide receiver Quinn Revere in the end zone to put the Jays on the board in the first quarter. Before the quarter’s end, Stevens completed a 30-yard pass to senior wide receiver Harrison Wellmann for the touchdown.
A second-quarter field goal finally ended Stevenson’s scoring drought, making the score 13-3. Hopkins was leading with just over two minutes remaining in the second quarter. However, the game would be no closer the rest of the way, as the Jays pummeled their way to two more touchdowns before the first half’s end.
Freshman offensive lineman Garrett Brophy recovered a fumble at the zero-yard line for the first of the two touchdowns. Senior defensive back Ross Andersson picked off Stevenson quarterback Ryan Sedgwick for a 27-yard run.
This interception culminated in Stevens finding sophomore tight end Will Leger for another score. After senior kicker Kyle Battles scored the extra point, the Jays headed into the half up 27-3.
On the first drive of the third quarter, Stevens found Wellmann for a 64-yard touchdown. While this served as the only touchdown for Hopkins this quarter, the defense stepped up by shutting out the Mustangs.
Heading into the final period with a score of 33-3, neither team showed any signs of slowing down. The Mustangs began the quarter with their first touchdown of the day via a Sedgwick touchdown pass to wide receiver Cory Jones.
After responding with a field goal on the next drive, the Jays quickly regained possession when graduate student defensive back and reigning Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week Finn Zechman forced a fumble. Capitalizing on the turnover, the Jays kicked in another field goal to extend their lead.
Zechman followed up the forced fumble by intercepting a Sedgwick pass on the next defensive possession, gaining 37 yards and eventually setting up another Hopkins touchdown. The teams continued to trade blows, but the lead stayed too large for the Mustangs to overcome.
With over 650 days separating this game and the Jays’ last, Zechman described what it felt like to finally be back on the field.
“Relief. The amount of time and preparation that has occurred since we were last able to put the Hopkins uniform on against a real opponent really starts to gnaw at you,” Zechman said. “Just being able to step onto the field and think ‘Okay, this is normal'‘ was such a relieving feeling, because all that's left after that is to go out and execute.”
Zechman also offered an explanation for their impressive performance after a long hiatus.
“I think everyone has just been on the same page this entire off-season. We all understood the disappointment the 2019 season was, and then not having the chance to set things right in the Centennial in 2020 was really challenging,” Zechman said. “As a group though, everyone accepted that challenge and chose to use it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle... Everyone took advantage of the time off, and it showed this past Saturday, and I think it will continue to show on Saturdays for the rest of the fall.”
Looking to carry their momentum, the Jays will hold their home opener against the Ursinus College Bears on Sept. 11.