Cape Central football brings home fourth straight district title with big offensive night at Hillsboro
HILLSBORO, Mo. -- Cape Girardeau Central quarterback Kway'Chon Chisom has won four district titles, one every season. But for the senior signal-caller, Friday was a new experience.
Chisom scored a career-high eight touchdowns -- five passing and three rushing -- and compiled 415 yards of offense as No. 5-seed Central stomped hosts Hillsboro, 63-24, in the Class 4 District 1 championship. After an action-packed first quarter ended with a five-point Tigers advantage, the visitors ripped off 42 consecutive points before the second-seeded Hawks grabbed a late consolation touchdown.
The Tigers scored a touchdown on their first nine possessions before running out the clock on the 10th.
Central advances to the state quarterfinals and will host Ladue Horton Watkins next week thanks to an eye-dazzling performance from its elusive QB.
"He's very easily the best player, football player, in Southeast Missouri," Tigers' first-year coach Arlen Pixley said of Chisom, an All-State cornerback last season. "... He's what you look for when you want to go next level and play college ball."
Chisom out-gained the Hawks by 44 yards, although the hosts were without running back Michael Keller. Last week against Sikeston, the junior had 443 rushing yards and seven touchdown, but reportedly re-aggravated an injury prior to the game. He was on the field for the Hawks' first two kickoff returns just as to fill out the numbers, according to Hillsboro coach Lee Freeman. He did return both kicks as the Tigers unintentionally booted the ball in his direction, Pixley said. Keller didn't have a rushing attempt, though.
Without Keller, who also plays on defense, the Hawks mustered 371 total yards. Chisom, on his own, had 214 passing and 201 rushing.
"The team, they let me do that," Chisom said. "They do all the dirty work."
Paced by Chisom's performance on 15 rushes, Central averaged 9.6 yards per carry against the Hawks and had three TD runs of 38 yards or longer.
In the Tigers' two previous district tournament games, they racked up 745 yards on the ground compared to 166 through the air. Friday, the offense was much more balanced as Chisom completed 10 of 13 passes with no interceptions and five TDs, including four of 28 yards or more. Before Friday, Chisom had 11 passing TDs in 11 games.
Chisom's favorite target against the Hawks was junior Austin Parker. The 6-foot-4 wide receiver had 95 yards and three touchdowns on as many catches.
"Just from the beginning of the season to now his arm has improved," Parker said. "It was great at the beginning of the season, but it's just unbelievable now."
The Hawks often rushed four against Chisom with one or two players spying on the dual-threat QB, appearing more concerned about Chisom's scrambling ability than the deep pass. That left the senior with plenty of time to throw and allowed receivers like Parker to get open deep. Late in the first half, he caught a pass that traveled over 30 yards in the air and waltzed into the end zone for a 61-yard TD.
"They were trying to make me throw more," Chisom said. "I don't blame them. I would too. That's exactly what I would do, but we see what happens."
Still, the game was close early. The first quarter ended with Central up 21-16, and neither team had made a defensive stop. That changed two plays into the second period.
On first-and-10, Central forced and recovered a fumble at the Hawks' 33-yard line. Two plays later, Chisom faked a hand-off to running back Aaron Harris on the read-option and then scampered 38 yards to pay dirt. That touchdown sparked a 42-0 run as Central contained a potent Hillsboro offense that scored 72 points a week ago against Sikeston.
"It's tough when you're in a shootout, and once we get that fumble I think it crushed them a little bit," Chisom said. "We put more points on the board, and their offense is not built for coming back because they don't pass a lot."
Harris, who entered with more than 1,000 yards rushing, was held to 33 yards on 11 carries but had 45 receiving yards and a touchdown on two receptions. Junior Joe Baker added 56 yards of offense, including a 28-yard TD catch in the first quarter.
"With what we did on offense, Aaron hammers you inside, and when you take that away, Chisom and someone else hammers you on the edge," Pixley said. "It's very, very tough to defend, and you got to be an elite, athletic defense to take a guy like Aaron and a guy like Chisom away. It really stresses some teams, and I really, really like what we're doing."
Central entered halftime up 43-16, but Hillsboro got the ball to start the second half. The hosts put together an 11-play drive but couldn't convert on a fourth-and-4 from the Tigers' 31. That effectively ended Hillsboro's hopes, and those problems were exacerbated when Parker used one hand to haul in a 6-yard TD pass seven plays later.
"We needed to," Pixley said of scoring on the first nine possessions. "When this game started off back and forth, see-saw, I thought that's how this whole thing would go all night because they're three yards and a cloud of dust, super physical.
"I can't say enough about how physical this game was from our side and their side. We knew coming in. Our kids really, I thought, played as physical a game as I've seen them play all year."
After ending the regular-season below .500 (4-5), Central won three straight road games in the district tournament by a combined 85 points. In the process, Pixley's team toppled three of the top four seeds.
Now Chisom and the Tigers turn their focus to the quarterfinals as they look to keep alive another streak. Central has advanced to three straight state semifinals.
They will look to make it four against Ladue.
"This all I know is winning district championships, and I've won it every year," Chisom said. "I can tell you something about every year I won it. It feels good but we're ready for the next game."
CC -- Austin Parker 28 pass from Kway'Chon Chisom (Hunter Hiett kick), 8:26
H -- Luke Skaggs 18 run (Skaggs run), 5:46
CC -- Chisom 62 run (Hiett kick), 5:29
H -- Skaggs 68 run (Joe Gregory run), 3:39
CC -- Joe Baker 28 pass from Chisom (Hiett kick), 1:23
CC -- Chisom 38 run (Hiett kick), 11:06
CC -- Chisom 1 run (Hiett kick), 6:08
CC -- Parker 61 pass from Chisom (Chisom run), 3:47
CC -- Parker 6 pass from Chisom (run railed), 2:48
CC -- Aaron Harris 30 pass from Chisom (Hiett kick), 9:09
CC -- Detric Merriweather 42 run (Hiett kick), 4:05
H -- Chase Green 30 pass from Tyler Isaacson (Skaggs run), 0:37.7
RUSHING -- Cape Central, Kway'Chon Chisom 15-201, Detric Merriweather 2-45, Aaron Harris 11-33, Joe Baker 2-16, Christian Mitchell 1-3; Hillsboro, Luke Skaggs 26-181, Alex Warren 7-69, Cory Walsh 3-11, Joe Gregory 6-10, Tyler Isaacson 3-10, Joe Garner 1-2, Chase Green 2-(-1).
PASSING -- Cape Central, Chisom 10-13-214-0; Hillsboro, Isaacson 3-5-89-0.
RECEIVING -- Cape Central, Austin Parker 3-95, Baker 3-40, A. Harris 2-45, Iemeon Giles 1-24, Matt Nussbaum 1-10; Hillsboro, Justin Sanders 1-39, Green 1-30, Isaiah Martin 1-20.
- Photos from the game (11/04/16)