After blowing a 16-point second-half lead on their home field exactly 365 days ago against Hazelwood Central, the trekked to North County on Saturday afternoon looking to avenge its most bitter defeat of the 2010 season.
And, boy, did the Pioneers exact their revenge in a big way, bullying the host Hawks in nearly every way possible for a blistering 47-0 nonconference win.
“It is satisfying to see our kids play so well,” Kirkwood head coach Matt Irvin said. “We feel like we’ve been getting better and better. And I’m happy for the kids that they performed so well today.”
Several Pioneers had especially big days for the visitors, but the biggest day had by anyone was clearly the effort senior Mike McHugh gave.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound speedster caught three touchdown passes on his four receptions for 215 yards, and scored on an electrifying 102-yard interception return that helped Kirkwood (3-0) build a 40-0 lead by halftime.
“We wanted to start fast, and we felt our kids had a lot of energy at the beginning,” Irvin said. “And we just kind of had a bunch of plays go our way, and it kind of avalanched.
"We know that’s a great football team and a great program, so we’ll feel good about today for the next 24 hours.”
McHugh also had a 75-yard touchdown reverse run called back for a penalty, but still had more than 350 all-purpose yards for a Pioneers offense that totaled nearly 550 yards.
Teammates Andre Harris, Jarrod Bishop, and Henry Banks also scored touchdowns for the Pioneers.
For Hazelwood Central, very little went right all day. And even when it did, the Hawks seemed to make some type of misplay to override it.
“We made mistakes,” Central head coach Van Vanatta said. “Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. I’m not going to sugarcoat it anymore. They didn’t get on us. We got on (ourselves). Every one of those long touchdown passes they had was because we had a blown coverage. Just too many mistakes.”
The one bright spot for the Hawks was the play of junior running back Dorian Williams, who finished the day with a game-high 92 rushing yards on 18 carries.
Backup senior quarterback Travis Seitrich also played well for Central in place of starter Sean Wills, who missed Saturday’s game due to injury.
The Hawks hope to have Wills back next Saturday when they’ll be on the road against archrival Hazelwood East at 1 p.m.
Kirkwood will back home at “The Wood” next week to host Parkway North on Friday at 7 p.m.
“We know we’ve got another tough one coming up against Parkway North,” Irvin said. “And we’ve got Parkway Central after that. So we’re only going to enjoy this for 24 hours, then we’re going back to work to get ready for those games.”
Score by Quarters
K: Mike McHugh 61 yd pass from Jordan Bishop (Andrew Phillips kick), 9:57
K: Andre Harris 20 yd pass from B.J. Buckner (Andrew Phillips kick), 8:28
K: Jarrod Bishop 31 yd pass from Jordan Bishop (Andrew Phillips kick), 5:12
K: Mike McHugh 38 yd pass from Jordan Bishop (PAT blocked), 4:18
K: Mike McHugh 102 yd interception return (Andrew Phillips kick), 10:00
K: Mike McHugh 93 yd pass from Jordan Bishop (PAT wide left), 3:12
K: Henry Banks 3 yd run (Andrew Phillips kick), 6:10