SYCAMORE - Jeremy Nutter said he's rarely felt more pride. His three sons will likely have an appreciation for that fact.
Nutter's Hopewell-Loudon offense put together its most impressive performance in piling up 431 total yards on the way to a 41-19 Midland Athletic League win over Mohawk.
Warrior Field has often been the site of dominating performances, but usually it has been Mohawk putting on the show. On this night, it was all Hopewell-Loudon almost all the time as the Chieftains improved to 4-2 overall and retained a share of first place in the league with Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic at 3-0.
"Mohawk is obviously so explosive offensively, we had to keep the football and keep them off the field," Nutter said after watching his club record 26 first downs. "That's the task we gave our offensive line and that's exactly what they did.
"I could not possibly be prouder," he said. "Short of the birth of my children, this is one of the best days."
Senior Mark Bouillon topped 200 yards rushing for the second straight week, this time going for 233 yards on 44 carries while scoring five touchdowns.
The Chieftains had a 12-play scoring drive in the first quarter and followed it up with a 13-play march in the second.
But those were quickies compared to their third-quarter dominance in which they had the ball for all but 15 seconds. Incredibly, H-L only managed a 7-6 scoring edge in the quarter as Mohawk running back Gunnar Johnson raced 54 yards for a touchdown on the Warriors' only snap of the session.
Meanwhile, Hopewell-Loudon opened the half with an 11-play scoring drive and the third-period clock ran out while the Chieftains were in the process of using 17 plays for another score.
"Their offense was their best defense tonight because we never had the ball," Warrior coach Erik Baker said. "I told the guys at half, 'They are not beating you with big plays; they're chewing you to death. It was 5 yards here, 3 yards there and 8 yards there."
Bouillon opened the scoring with a 3-yard smash for a 6-0 lead with 3:25 left in the first period. But Warrior quarterback Drew Loose broke free for a 66-yard touchdown run to tie it less than a minute later. Loose finished the game with 104 yards on nine carries, including a 56-yard sprint that closed the scoring late in the fourth period.
"If he finds a seam, Loose is going to take it to the house," Nutter said. "I'm disappointed that we didn't play him better on the back side of our defense. He'll do that to you. Sometimes, he'll just make you look stupid."
The Chieftains countered with another long drive that featured a 13-yard run by Cody Malone and a 16-yard keeper by Alec Gregg. Bouillon got the TD from a yard out.
Logan Tyree's 49-yard punt pinned the Warriors on their own 1 later in the quarter and put H-L in position for Bouillon's bonus score from 2 yards out with 47 seconds left. His run for the extras made it 20-6 at the break.
"Even with what was going on, we were putting up the good fight," Baker said. "But to go down two scores instead of one with them getting the ball to start the second half was not a situation we wanted to be in."
Malone, who finished with 65 yards on 10 carries, had a 7-yard touchdown as the Chieftains opened the third period with a drive of nearly six minutes. After Johnson's score, Hopewell-Loudon was pounding again with Bouillon's 1-yard smash putting the finishing touch on a possession that took 9:38 off the clock.
"In their own way, that's like Carey used to do," Baker said. "When Carey would blow you out, it would be 28-7 and you just never had the ball. We just could never get them off the field. They did a tremendous job converting third downs and eating clock.
"I admire it," he said. "That's the kind of football I like. I just don't like having it done to me."
Bouillon's final score was a bit of an aberration as it covered 31 yards.
"I've said it before, the kid's an iron man," Nutter said of the MAL rushing leader. "He'll never talk about himself. He was embarrassed that I called him out after a game and said what a great performance that was. He doesn't want to hear that. He wants the credit to go to his offensive line. That's just who he is."
His coach was more than willing to offer such credit.
"We've got three seniors - Brock Hill, Brandon Molotla and Jordan Nutter - Brock and Brandon are on the left side of the line and we ran behind them all night." Jeremy Nutter said. "Adam Foos is our center and he had to step in because of injury and has done a fantastic job.
"And I think the best offensive lineman in our league is our right tackle, Weston Hill," he said. "We get behind him and the pile moves. That just the way it is."
That's the way it was on this night and Nutter was like a proud papa all over again.