Independence’s stifling defense turned in another dominant performance to help the Patriots rout Garinger 65-0 Friday night at Garinger.
The Patriots, who posted their sixth shutout of the season, built a 51-0 halftime lead as Independence’s defensive linemen spent much of the first half in the Garinger backfield. The Wildcats were held without a first-half first down and totaled negative-35 yards of offense before the break.
Meanwhile, Independence quarterback Kelvin Hopkins got off to a hot start. His first three touchdowns went to wide receivers Jamar Jenkins, Will Walton and Pierre Lockwood. Hopkins finished 10-for-13 passing for 120 yards and five touchdowns before sitting out the second half. He spread his scoring passes among four targets, with tight end Zach Hunt adding a 7-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter.
“It’s great because I want to keep my guys happy,” Hopkins said. “If I don’t give them a pass when they feel like they’re open, they are going to come to the sideline and let me know about it. It’s definitely a great feeling because you know that your receivers are going to be happy and make plays for you.”
The Patriots’ defense, though, arguably stole the show. Independence forced the first Wildcats turnover when a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage landed in the arms of defensive lineman Jimmel Twine late in the first quarter.
“Our defensive line gets a good push and they’re really football-smart kids,” Independence coach Joe Evans said. “They don’t get all the notoriety that the DBs and the receivers and the quarterbacks get, but we have a pretty good group up front.”
The Patriots’ defense forced three more turnovers – one an 18-yard interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back Tim Marshall – and a safety to complement Hopkins and the offense.
“It’s good, but it doesn’t really loosen us up,” Hopkins said of the Independence D. “Because we want to match them. They go for 0, we want to go for 100.”