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From 49 to 0, Improvement on ‘D’ a Key to Strong Start for Hawklets

After ending the 2022 season by giving up almost 50 points, Rockhurst surrendered 10 in the first two games of 2023.
Andrew Zaragoza
Rockhurst’s defense waits for Blue Springs South’s offense to line up before a play during their game on Sept. 1, 2023. The Hawklets beat the Jaguars 47-10 en route to starting the season 2-0.

The Friday night lights are an iconic scene for many high schools all across the United States. It’s no different at Rockhurst, a school that has historically been a part of big games that have generated a lot of interest.

“I think football has always and always will be highly anticipated,” senior JP Hepler said. “We always seem to bring a rowdy environment to every single game or pep rally.”

Rockhurst went .500 last season (5-5). Although the Hawklets went into the playoffs with momentum, they started the season losing three of their first four games. Players see one big difference this year compared to past years.

“This year we have experience that most classes before us haven’t had,” senior linebacker Thomas Coppinger said. “We are Coach Donohoe’s first class, and have been dedicated to this program for four years.”

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The season ended with a crippling 49-42 loss to Park Hill in the first game of districts.

“That loss to Park Hill last year really brings us motivation to excel this year, and have a better outcome for the end of this year,” senior defensive back Vince Jacoby said.

This season Rockhurst has already started out strong with a resounding 31-0 win over Raymore-Peculiar, followed by another sizable win (47-10) against Blue Springs South. The Ray-Pec game, in particular, was sweet victory because Rockhurst played them the first game of the season the past three years as well and lost every single time. Players say this year’s shutout shows the Hawklets’ defense won’t be the same as previous seasons.

“This win is a statement for all of Missouri that Rockhurst is no joke,” Jacoby said. “We’ve got a good team and we are here to play.”

The team’s downfall against Park Hill in the final game of last season was giving up 49 points. Yielding points has not been a struggle for the Hawklets this year as they’ve only allowed 10 points so far.

“Being on the defense that let up that many points [against Park Hill last year], it’s tough,” Coppinger said. “This year our defense is flying around a lot better and connecting inside and outside of the box, and we finally got to showcase it in our shutout against Ray Pec.”

Not only were players ecstatic about the big win over Ray-Pec, but students were as well.

“I think the Ray-Pec game showed the fans a lot of what to expect for the rest of the season,” Hepler said. “We have a good squad this year, and I think everybody feels that we have the energy and are rolling in the right direction.”

Rockhurst will face a tough test in their next game, as they square off against 2022 state semifinalist Liberty North Friday night at Dasta Stadium.


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About the Contributor
Jackson Sifers, Staff Reporter
This is the second year for me on the newspaper staff. I wanted to write for the newspaper, because I enjoy writing as a whole and generally find it to be one of my academic strong suits. I picked this class again, because I wanted to pick a class that would be enjoyable for me my senior year. It doesn't hurt that being part of student media can look attractive on a college resume as well. Outside of the newspaper, I’m involved in the Spanish Club. My future goals include graduating from Rockhurst, and then graduating college with a business degree. My first year of newspaper was filled with great times and lots of amazing learning experiences, and I am very excited to find out what my second year has to offer.
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