The Hastings Saxons entered 2021 as the reigning champions of the Interstate 8 Conference. They are off to a hot start in defending their title, as they are 4-0 as we approach the midway point of the season. On Friday night, they beat Parma Western 34-18.

In the first quarter, Hastings Robby Slaughter got the scoring started. He raced 24 yards into the end zone. Mason Denton and TJ Russell paired up on a successful two-point try. This gave the Saxons an 8-0 lead.

Slaughter’s second touchdown early in the second quarter, paired with another conversion by Russell, gave Hastings a 16-0 advantage. Parma would get on the scoreboard when Nolan Wheeler and Cole Wilcox connected on an 8-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, TJ Russell fielded the ball on his own three yard line. He weaved his way through the oncoming kick team, and he made it 97 yards to the end zone.

Russell would add a 27-yard rushing touchdown for Hastings to extend their lead. Rocco Neely responded with a 4-yard run for Parma, leading to a halftime score of 28-12 in favor of the Saxons.

The second half saw little scoring, with just a single touchdown by each team. Midway through the fourth quarter, Lanny Teunessen would score for Hastings on a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Parma would respond with a 58-yard pass from Wheeler to Wilcox.

Hastings was led by TJ Russell, who turned 30 carries into 202 yards. He scored two touchdowns and added two two-point conversions. The Saxons will face Jackson Lumen Christi next Friday, the only other unbeaten team in the conference. Parma is now 2-2, and they will square up against Battle Creek Pennfield.