On a night where so much went right, Nashville was able to dominate on Homecoming and Senior night, shutting out Pinckneyville 71-0
The Hornets hit the half-century mark before the end of the first quarter, thanks to good plays on both sides of the ball. The impressive run kicked off literally at kickoff, when senior Ian Blazier returned a 65-yard run to put the first points on the scoreboard fourteen seconds into the game.
After stalling the Panther offense, the Hornets scored on their next possession, an 11-yard run from quarterback Kolten Gajewski.
Pinckneyville would get the ball but, like many possessions before, it would not last long. After senior Nolan Heggemeier recovered a punt, another senior — Isaac Turner — returned a 47-yard return at 8:22 in the first. Two more points would be added eleven seconds later after the Hornets scored a safety.
The early rally was far from over with three more trips to the end zone. In fact the quarter would end just as it began, with another mad dash from Blazier, this time for 42 yards to make the score 51-0.
The Hornets also retrieved the ball after two pick sixes — Senior Evan Knolhoff in the first half and sophomore Marcus Hunter in the second.
Senior Connor Gladson scored twice in the second, first on a 15-yard run and next on a 13-yard. He ended the night with 10 carries for 109 yards.
Kolten Gajewski was a perfect 6 for 6 with 109 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Turner.
“They really came out and took care of business,” Head Coach Steve Kozuszek told WNSV. “Our kids were ready to play. We told them that on the offside chance that this might be the last time they play on this field.”
On a night dedicated to the seniors, Kozuszek said the back field was particularly quick and remarkable.
“(Blazier) makes it so effortless,” he said. “It seems like he is coasting but he is running by everybody. Turner is so dangerous with his vision. He has a sixth sense. He sees holes develop out there before they do.”
Kozuszek said looking into next week, Nashville now has clinched a berth into the playoffs but the last two regular games will determine whether the Hornets have home advantage. If they beat DuQuoin next week, the Hornets will have repeated their conference title for the first time in more than 20 years.
That could be hard, seeing as how the Hornets have not defeated the Indians on their home turf since 2004.
“We are improving each week,” he said. “That’s what good teams do and that’s what we want going into the playoffs.”