Houston coach Chris Edwards had two thoughts on the mohawks several of his players sported for homecoming.
“If you do that and you win, it’s a great thing. It’s a great sense of team camaraderie and you come together,” Edwards said. “If you lose, you look like a bunch of idiots with mohawks.”
No idiots here. These Tigers looked as – um, good – as their new dos.
Senior quarterback David Weybright burnt Pleasant Hope’s safety-less defense for a career-high 382 yards and five touchdowns as Houston celebrated homecoming in style Friday night with an easy 39-6 victory.
Wide receiver Kyle Poynter rebounded from a difficult debut with 202 receiving yards and three scores as the Tigers snapped a two-game losing skid with an impressive offensive outburst.
Maybe it was the hair.
“I think it’s a neat thing when you get kids who want to do things together. They all wanted to be united,” Edwards said. “Right now, they look like a good team.”
Weybright said the idea was first generated as a joke at the team’s summer camp. It became a reality for homecoming
“At first, you were dumb if you got one,” Weybright said. “But when half the team got one, it was, ‘Hey, you need to do it.'”
Houston (4-2) rejuvenated its offense after picking up just two first downs the previous week against Thayer. The Tigers had a season-high 475 total yards and 19 first downs – both more than double Pleasant Hope’s totals.
Weybright was responsible for most of the damage. He completed 17 of his 32 pass attempts and had seven completions of more than 20 yards before leaving in the third quarter with a stinger in his shoulder.
Weybright, who completed touchdown passes of 4, 30, 13, 66 and 5 yards, also gained a team-high 63 yards on 10 rushes.
Pleasant Hope, a fourth-year program, stacked the defensive line with seven players and played man-to-man against Houston’s receivers. The flawed strategy led to the Pirates’ 19 consecutive loss.
“When you don’t have a safety, it leaves that middle part of the field wide open,” Weybright said. “We threw some deep balls and took advantage of it.”
It didn’t help that Pleasant Hope (0-6) lost three of its six fumbles and committed 10 penalties for 82 yards. Quarterback Will Finch was also picked off by Houston linebacker Travis Barker to set up the Tigers’ fourth score midway through the second quarter.
Sophomore Jacob Case started the scoring with an 8-yard run eight plays after Logan Woodmansee fumbled on the Pirates’ opening drive.
Then Weybright took over.
He hit Barker with a 4-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter, then less than three minutes later drilled Poynter as he slanted across the middle for a 30-yard score.
Barker’s interception set up Weybright’s 13-yard pass to Poynter that gave Houston a 27-0 lead.
Poynter, who dropped a sure touchdown early in the first quarter, pulled in a short pass on the second play of the third quarter and streaked 66 yards to the end zone.
“After I got the first drop out of the way, it went pretty good,” said Poynter, a transfer from Lebanon. “That motivated me to make sure I caught mostly everything that came my way.”
Poynter, who had several dropped passes in his debut last week in his first-ever appearance at wide receiver and first game in several years, bobbled the ball before securing it and out-racing Zach Dudley for his third score.
“He still scares me when it hits him in the chest and he bobbles it,” Weybright said. “I was thinking, ‘All right Kyle, we’ll do it your way.'”
Senior Martin Crawford, who had five receptions for 105 yards, caught a 5-yard pass from Weybright for Houston’s final score. The touchdown set the mercy clock in motion.
Pleasant Hope got its lone points on Woodmansee’s 40-yard run with 1 minute, 6 seconds remaining in the game.
Houston punted just one time – on its final possession of the game – and didn’t give up a sack. Weybright has been sacked one time in 178 pass attempts this year.
“You’ve got to give the offensive line and running backs credit,” Edwards said. “I’m really proud of those guys.”
HOUSTON 39, PLEASANT HOPE 6
Pleasant H. 0 0 0 6 – 6
Houston 6 21 12 0 – 39
HOU – Case 8 run (kick failed), 6:01.
HOU – Barker 4 pass from Weybright (Poynter pass from Weybright), 10:41.
HOU – Poynter 30 pass from Weybright (Case kick), 9:02.
HOU – Poynter 13 pass from Weybright (kick failed), 6:06.
HOU – Poynter 66 pass from Weybright (pass failed), 11:38.
HOU – Crawford 5 pass from Weybright (pass failed), 6:24.
HOU – Case 14 run (Case kick), 8:14.
First downs 9 19
Total net yards 205 475 Rushes-yards 26-129 33-93
Passing 76 382
Punt returns 0-0 0-0
Kickoff returns 7-73 1-14
Comp-Att-Int 5-21-1 18-33-0
Sacked-yards lost 1-7 0-0
Punts-avg. 6-37.7 1-30.0
Fumbles-lost 6-3 3-2
Penalties-yards 10-82 7-40
RUSHING – Pleasant Hope, Sigrest 11-88, Woodmansee 6-29, Dudley 6-20, Finch 3-(minus 8). Houston, Weybright 10-63, Case 7-28, Schmidt 7-18, KCampbell 3-2, Jones 6-(minus 19).
PASSING – Pleasant Hope, Finch 5-21-1 76. Houston, Weybright 17-32-0 363, Jones 1-1-0 19.
RECEIVING – Pleasant Hope, Wodmansee 2-38, Richner 2-27, Farrell 1-11. Houston, Poynter 7-202, Crawford 5-105, Wilson 3-40, Barker 2-21, Schmidt 1-14.