On the opening drive, the Blackhawks recovered a Unity fumble, taking control at their own 22 yard line. Unfortunately for Hinton, the drive ended in an interception, which the Knights turned into a 23-yard touchdown reception with 6:34 remaining in the quarter. The nine play, 78-yard drive gave Unity a 7-0 advantage on their home field.
The Knights scored again with 1:51 to go in the opening quarter. This time, Unity found the end zone on a nine-yard run and the Knights opened up their lead, 14-0.
But in the second quarter, the Blackhawks stepped up their game. Coach Steve Diediker said that both squads played tough that quarter. "No one went over four downs, us or them," he said. "There were five punts and neither team really moved the ball much in the second quarter."
A scoreless quarter left the Knights leading 14-0 at the half.
Hinton came back onto the field in the third quarter ready to go. On the opening drive of the quarter, the Blackhawks capped off a 10 play, 60 yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Tim Youtzy with 7:33 left in the third. The Ricky Vander Kooi PAT was good, pulling the Blackhawks within seven, down 14-7.
"It was good to see the offense take that opening kickoff of the half," Diediker said. "Down 14-0, we really showed some resiliency there."
All was silent after that until midway through the fourth quarter. The Knights were marching again and they made their way to the end-zone one last time with 5:11 to play. A failed PAT attempt left Unity with a 20-7 lead and the eventual win.
"It was a typical first game," Diediker said. "Some kids are trying to feel their way around the game, which caused us to be a little tentative, especially in that first quarter."
Offensively, Hinton was led by Youtzy on the ground. The leading rusher tallied 71 yards on 17 carries and the lone touchdown for the Blackhawks. Eric Held netted 22 yards on five carries and Jordan Sitzmann added 20 yards on five carries.
Through the air, the pair of Blackhawk quarterbacks found a different receiver on each of their completions. Sitzmann completed 2-of-6 for nine yards while Tyler Stuerman was 3-for-12 for 16 yards. They each threw one interception.
Nick Becker pulled down the longest reception of the night, an eight-yard pass. The other four passes went to Keegan Bak, Stephen Koithan, Riley Peirce and Zach Yoerger.
Defensively, Yoerger led Hinton with 14 tackles. Kole Vondrak added nine, Becker brought down seven and Kyle Huggenberger had five tackles.
On special teams, Bak totaled 163 yards on five punts. He also added 28 yards on his lone kickoff return. Yoerger had three kick returns for 64 total yards.
Sitzmann pulled in an interception on defense, while Dale Timmerman and Jacob Barkley each had a fumble recovery.
Diediker was pleased with the Blackhawks' effort, noting that many of the players made growth throughout the game. "Tonight was a learning experience," he said. "We definitely have some things to work on, but we hope to get better by next week."
The Blackhawks host their home opener this week, with Gehlen Catholic coming to town for another non-district match-up. The Jays are coming off an exciting win in week one, a 32-31 overtime victory over West Sioux.
"I think it will be [a good game]," Diediker said. "The guys they put on the field are pretty good athletes."