PALMER — Class D-1 preseason No. 6 High Plains picked up a big 58-0 win over No. 9 Palmer on Friday.
Palmer picked up its own type of win by just stepping onto the field one day after attending the funeral of freshman teammate Tyler Hillmer.
On the field, it was quarterback Logan Engel who led the Storm’s rout. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 316 yards and five touchdowns against one interception.
Engel also rushed for two more scores for the Storm, which broke open a 14-0 game by scoring on its first play on three straight possessions in the second quarter.
"He did a heck of a job," High Plains coach Greg Wood said of his senior quarterback. "There was a lot of pressure on him filling in for Tanner Fate. That’s all he’s heard about the last three years.
"He’s had plenty of opportunities, and he stepped in there just like a pro. He’s a senior and was ready to go. I was impressed with him."
High Plains rolled up 428 yards of total offense while holding the Tigers to just 105 yards.
"We had some hiccups there," Wood said. "We’ve still got some things we need to improve on, but for our first game and as hot as it was, I thought we did a good job."
Hillmer weighed heavily on the mind of the home team and its fans after being killed in a rollover crash last Friday night that also injured starting senior lineman Heath McClellan.
Several of the freshman’s No. 22 jerseys were seen being worn, and several youth had his number face painted on. Senior Josh Valasek wore Hillmer’s No. 22 for the game.
His brother Jake led the team out onto the field, and the team chanted Hillmer’s nickname "Hook" to break its pregame huddle.
"It’s been really tough," Palmer coach Nathan Glause said. "The kid that we lost is a great kid that worked hard in practice. We pointed out that Tyler would want us to go out and play hard because that’s how he played the game.
"But it’s been tough. Our focus has been other places, which is fine. That’s how life is."
With the tough week, Glause said this isn’t a game that would be graded like usual.
"Not only did we lose a couple of our players in the accident, we also had a couple of other guys out," he said. "One would have been a key player, but that’s not the difference in the game.
"We had a lot of young guys out there. We’re playing two or three freshmen at times. It just makes it tough."
Palmer was without quarterback Kordell Glause. He was expecting to have returned from a thigh contusion, but it isn’t healing as quickly as had been hoped.
High Plains (1-0) ............... 14 26 12 6—58
Palmer (0-1) ...................... 0 0 0 0—0
HP—Martin 27 pass from L. Engel (run failed), 4:25.
HP—L. Engel 9 run (L. Engel run), 1:41.
HP—Martin 11 pass from L. Engel (pass failed), 11:47.
HP—Fleming 66 pass from L. Engel (pass failed), 9:52.
HP—Klingsporn 27 pass from L. Engel (run failed), 6:35.
HP—Safety, blocked punt in end zone, 4:42.
HP—L. Engel 2 run (pass failed), 0:16.
HP—Bolton 41 pass from L. Engel (pass failed), 10:07.
HP—Wurtz 4 run (run failed), 4:50
HP—Wurtz 2 run (run failed), 7:40.
RUSHING—HP, Wurtz 6-38, L. Engel 6-23, Fate 3-16, T. Engel 2-11, Young 1-8, Fleming 2-7, TEAM 1-(minus 17). P, H. Reimers 9-39, M. Glause 15-13, Robertson 6-(minus 1), Wells 1-(minus 2), Wolfe 2-(minus 5), McMaster 4-(minus 10), TEAM 2-(minus 24).
PASSING—HP, L. Engel 17-23-1 316, Wurtz 2-3-0 26. P, M. Glause 6-11-1 65, Wells 2-2-0 30.
RECEIVING—HP, T. Engel 4-68, Klingsporn 4-58, Bolton 3-65, Martin 2-38, Fate 1-8. P, H, Reimers 2-33, K. Reimers 2-29, Helgoth 2-25, Doncheski 1-8, McMaster 1-0.