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Hughson dominates Summerville in shutout victory
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Quarterback Aiden Meyer runs the ball in for the Huskies' first touchdown of the game against Summerville (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

After a setback earlier in the week that saw the Hughson High varsity football team forced to forfeit their season-opening win, the Huskies came out with a vengeance Friday night in their 30-0 victory over Summerville High.

“Everyone had a chip on their shoulder after that loss got taken away from us and we really wanted to get this win,” junior quarterback Aiden Meyer said.

Meyer led the Huskies to victory over the Bears, finishing with 147 passing and 43 rushing yards in a night that saw Hughson put on an offensive clinic, tallying 443 total offensive yards while holding Summerville to just 169 offensive yards of their own.

“It was big. I wanted to see what we came out with because we had a lot of distractions this week,” head coach Shaun King said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen this week, so I’m glad they all stepped up.”

Hughson High announced on Tuesday that it was forced to forfeit its season-opening victory over Stagg High of Stockton after Huskies Athletic Director Joel Bernard self-reported a mistake regarding a transfer player to the Sac-Joaquin Section. In addition to the devastating blow to the team’s record, several Huskies players also succumbed to the flu this week, according to King.

That didn’t stop Hughson. They jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead halfway through the first quarter thanks to Meyer, who completed a three-yard touchdown run to cap a four-play scoring drive. After forcing a three-and-out from the Bears, the Huskies scored again on their ensuing possession — this time, a six-yard pass from Meyer to Nathan Rawe.

Having a quarterback that’s young can sometimes be a setback, but Meyer’s ability to lead like a senior has helped the offense click as the season moves forward, King said.

“He came into this season in a quarterback battle and his leadership has really picked up. That’s what we’ve been seeing, and tonight he played great,” King said.

The play of the game came in the second quarter and put Hughson up 21-0 when Meyer shot a screen pass over to Steven Morris, who then fell back and connected with Clayton Dowdy for a 66-yard touchdown pass. The double pass was the first play of the possession, and was a welcome sight with an offense that had multiple dropped passes in their most recent loss against Orestimba.

“We’ve really been working on the run game to open up the passing, and we’ve worked on our receivers dropping passes. It’s showing that we’re putting the work in,” King said. “We’ve got to keep it up.”

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Zander De La Cruz gains yards for the Huskies during the game Friday against Summerville (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The Huskies other two scoring plays came in the final seconds of the first half, when Rawe completed a 33-yard field goal, and again early in the fourth quarter, thanks to a four-yard touchdown run from running back Zander De la Cruz.

De la Cruz was instrumental in the Huskies’ offensive onslaught, leading the team’s running game and collecting 171 total yards all on his own.

“Zander…the kid’s a beast,” Meyer said of his running back. “I don’t know how many yards he had, but I bet he had a lot.”

As with any shutout, Hughson’s defense was lights out, forcing three turnovers during the course of the game — two fumble recoveries by George Crayton and an interception by Zeek Davis.

“It’s been like that all year; we have a very good defense,” King said. “We’re junior-heavy, so we’re just going to keep on getting more experience every week.”

Next week, the Huskies will begin league play at 7 p.m. in Hughson against Livingston High, who is 3-1 on the season. Following Friday’s win and their forfeit earlier in the week, Hughson is now 2-2 overall.

“Livingston’s going to be the best team we’ve faced so far, so we’ll see if we can get that win, too,” Meyer said.

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Hughson's Nolan Rawe doesn't let his Summerville opponent stop him Friday during the game (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).