The Hastings Saxons welcomed Jackson Northwest to town for their latest Interstate 8 battle. After some chaos atop the league standings, the Saxons once again control their own destiny as they pursue a league championship. They took one more step to achieving this goal with a 66-18 annihilation of the Mounties.
Hastings set the tone early, with a touchdown in the first twelve seconds. Mason Denton aired it out to TJ Russell, and the duo paired up for a 56-yard touchdown, the Saxons’ first passing score of the 2021 season. Just a minute later, Robby Slaughter ran the football 30 yards for a score. Jackson Northwest’s Isaiah Grybauskas reeled off a 40-yard sprint to the end zone to trim the first quarter deficit to eight, 14-6.
The Saxons were quick to strike in the second frame as well, as they found the end zone after thirty-two seconds of action. Again it was Russell, although this time he carried the football a yard. Three minutes later, Russell was back in the end zone, after weaving through the defense for a 27-yard score. Northwest would respond with a run by Grybauskas, but Russell’s fourth touchdown would re-expand the lead. This time, it was a 38-yard dart down the field. Lanny Teunessen rounded out the first half with a 7-yard score, giving Hastings a 46-12 halftime lead.
Coming out of the locker room, Hastings continued to pile on the points. On their opening drive of the half, Robby Slaughter bolted down the field, covering 81 yards on his way across to the goal line. At the end of the third quarter, it was TJ Russell once again. The Saxons would get their eighth rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, before Grybauskas wrapped things up for Northwest.
Hastings outgained the Mounties 539-259, rushing for 472 yards. Mason Denton was a perfect 2/2 for 67 yards and that score, with TJ Russell catching both balls. TJ Russell also led the rushing attack with 14 carries, 172 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robby Slaughter (113) joined him with 100+ yards.
Next week, Hastings will face Coldwater in their Interstate 8 finale. A win guarantees the Saxons at least a share of the league title. Battle Creek Harper Creek and Jackson Lumen Christi each have a chance, as they currently have just one league loss each.