POCATELLO — As soon as Hillcrest High School head football coach Kevin Meyer stepped into the Knights’ locker room at Holt Arena, Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” blared through the speakers.
Clapping and dancing as a collective, “Electric Avenue” was a fitting song choice for the Knights Saturday morning.
The Knights were electric on all facets during the 11th annual Rocky Mountain Rumble, beating Star Valley (Wyo.) 42-21.
Wide receiver Oakley Hussey got the morning started, scoring three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) to give Hillcrest a two-touchdown lead by halftime.
Running back Jordan Neuerburg ended the day, milking the Braves’ defense for 142 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Of those 142 yards, 100 came in the second half (41 on the Knights’ first second-half drive alone), as the senior back wore out Star Valley during the third quarter.
“I think it was good for a first game with a new coach,” said Hussey, who finished with 92 total yards. “Just really coming out, flowing, really meshing together. Making something happen.”
Despite a stalled first drive to open the game (quarterback Kyle Austin fumbled on third down), the Knights accumulated close to 400 yards of offense to start 1-0 for the second-straight year.
The Knights took a 14-0 lead thanks to a Hussey 20-yard jet sweep run and 26-yard screen catch and run from Seth Curtis, before Star Valley's Dean Shaw found David Castillo on a 21-yard throw to cut the game to 14-7.
Castillo’s score was the closest Star Valley would get Saturday. Hillcrest responded with a six-minute drive that ended in a Neuerburg three-yard rush.
Neuerburg came back the next drive, the Knights’ first of the second half, to reach the endzone on a 6-yard off-tackle scamper. With 1:54 left in the third, Taylor Sloan gave the Knights a four-touchdown lead with an 8-yard catch from Austin in the flat, effectively putting Saturday’s bout away.
“I think our start was a little slow, but as the game went on, we were really strong and they couldn’t stop us in the second half,” Neuerburg said.
Defensively, the Knights held Shaw in check throughout, holding him to just 107 passing yards. Shaw finished with 118 rushing yards, mostly through scrambles due to defensive pressure throughout Saturday.
“Defensively, it’s a lot different. We’ve learned a whole new defense. I like it a lot better and obviously it worked pretty good today,” said cornerback Josh Norman, who had a fumble recovery and a crucial pass deflection in the first quarter.
Norman added that Meyer, who’s in his first year coaching at Hillcrest, is a perfectionist.
The Knights were close to perfect Saturday — and electric.
“I was going to be disappointed if we didn’t play real well,” Meyer said. “I thought we would play well. I thought we would be physical. And I thought our offense could move the ball.
“The seniors are good kids and we have good kids,” Meyer said.
Hillcrest (1-0) plays at Madison (1-0) Friday.