ROCKFORD, Ill. -The Hononegah Indians will have to wait another seven days (at least) to face their first real challenge of the young season.
The Indians defeated Rockford East 49-20 Friday night at Swanson Stadium to improve to 3-0 on the year. Hononegah faces what will likely be its toughest opponent of the regular season (Rockford Boylan) coming up Friday in Rockford.
Hononegah was in control of the game from the start, as they amassed 519 yards in a balanced offensive attack. After falling behind 8-7 in the first quarter, Hononegah scored the next 35 points to drop East to 2-1 on the season.
Hononegah coach Brian Zimmerman said he was pleased with his team's effort.
"Coming into this game, I expected it to be a physical battle out there," Zimmerman said. "I give a lot of credit to East. They battled hard all game. We took care of business on offense. We moved the ball multiple ways, and we made some big plays on special teams. Some guys stepped up that don't normally get a chance to play and they made some big plays for us."
Two of Hononegah's bigger offensive stars were junior Christian Gomez and senior Nick Pierson. Gomez ran a kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown, and added two more scores on touchdown runs.
Zimmerman said Gomez's speed is a welcome addition to the lineup.
"He played a ton at the sophomore level last year," Zimmerman said. "He's a great cut-back move that has really worked well for him. He's a great kid and he works really hard every day in practice. It's good to have him out there."
Gomez, who rushed for 92 yards on just three carries including an 80-yard scamper for a touchdown, said he didn't know he'd be getting many opportunities to show what we could do.
"I had no idea I'd be getting those touches," Gomez said. "But I kept my confidence up and when I got the chance, I went out there and played football."
Pierson was a huge factor in Hononegah's productive passing game, snaring five passes for 175 yards and a touchdown.
"Nick had a really good night for us," Zimmerman said. "But any time he is over the middle, he's a pretty big target for Ryan Van Schelven to throw to."
Pierson had receptions of 69, 34, 29 and 27 yards, working with Van Schelven to terrorize opposing defenses.
Facing a fourth-and-10 with the first half clock winding down, Van Schelven turned Pierson's way. After catching the pass, Pierson bulled his way to the 34-yard touchdown to make the score 35-8 at halftime.
"It's great to know that I've got the trust from Ryan and from the coaches to make those plays," Pierson said. "When they need something like that, they just look at me and tell me that they know I can do it. It's a great feeling."
The Indians defense wasn't too shabby, either, allowing just a Tayveon Lake 58-yard touchdown in the first half. While the E-Rabs finished with 20 points, many of those came against the second and third-string Hononegah defenders.
Hononegah will next travel to Boylan Friday night to take on the 3-0 Titans.