Gruver put up 39 unanswered points in the first half that set the tone for a dominating 61-36 win over Highland Park in a key non-district clash on Friday night at Hornets Stadium.
The two teams didn’t shy away from the scoreboard combining for 97 points, but it was the Greyhounds (3-1) doing most of the damage by running through, around and right by the Highland Park defense for four quarters totaling 624 yards.
The Hornets, who were looking for their first 4-0 start in 10 years, suffer their loss in 2023 falling to 3-1 overall.
Fans couldn’t have asked for a better start with Highland Park’s fast-paced scoring on the second play of the game when quarterback Brady Thompson connected to Alex Conway for 18-yard pitch and catch giving the Hornets an early 6-0 lead.
Gruver fired right back on a Pratt McLain 2-yard touchdown run, the two-point conversion was good, and the Greyhounds went up 8-6. Highland Park didn’t flinch answering on the ensuing possession on a 31-yard scamper from Travian Vrede as the Hornets jumped back up 14-8. But here came Gruver. On the first play of the next drive, quarterback Briggs Satterfield broke loose on the edge and left everyone behind for an 81-yard touchdown, and after another two-point conversion, the Greyhounds took back the advantage 16-14 not even four minutes into the contest.
The momentum then swung at the 7:16 mark of the opening quarter. Highland Park was marching once again for a third score when Vrede was tackled inside the Gruver 30-yard line. Vrede didn’t get up and was helped off the field with a leg injury and didn’t return.
“I think when Tavian got hurt it took wind out of our sails,” Highland Park head coach Ty Stout. “We needed to get into halftime to get our minds right. We had to have the next man step up and we did in the second half, but it definitely hurt the momentum.”
With the Hornets shaken with Vrede’s absence after blistering Gruver for 110 yards rushing with a score in the first five minutes, the Greyhounds started to roll on the way to 32 straight points behind a Satterfield to Pake Babbs nine-yard TD toss, then a pair of Satterfield rushing scores as the Greyhounds took a commanding 40-14 lead into halftime.
“I was really proud of how we played as a team,” Gruver head coach Kurt Haberthur said. “The offensive line played great, our defense was solid. I hated the Vrede kid got hurt. That did change the game, but we ran the ball great tonight and I think that was the key.”
Out of the 624 total yards the Greyhounds produced 477 chewed up the Highland Park defense. Satterfield was stellar the entire way rushing for 157 yards on 12 carries with three scores and went 10-of-15 passing for 147 yards with two more TDs. McLain was a workhorse toting the rock 29 times for 178 yards with two scores and Walker Maupin chipped in with 102 yards on the ground with a TD.
“Briggs and Pratt make a dynamic duo,” Haberthur said. “Pratt brings huge leadership to this team like the rest of the seniors do. That helps Briggs get better and we have a really good group.”
Gruver also put up a rare stat going 5-for-5 on two-point conversions in the first half.
“I’m really proud of that,” Haberthur said. “I’m really proud of that. We spread it out and were looking at they were giving us. We have a good kicker but we the guys sometime like to go for two.”
Highland Park quarterback Brady Thompson finished 16-of-27 for 245 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Teammate Elyes Torres caught seven passes for 100 yards with three scores.