Hochhalter throws for 300, Blue Jays pick up win No. 5 Friday
The Jamestown High School football team hosted Dickinson on Friday evening.
JAMESTOWN — Not a whole lot happens in seven seconds.
Unless you are Jamestown High School senior quarterback Payton Hochhalter.
With 22 seconds remaining in the second quarter in the JHS football team's game against Dickinson Friday, Hochhalter let loose a 41-yard touchdown strike to put the Jays up 27-8 over the Midgets. From start to finish, the play lasted seven seconds.
But that's not anything new for the Blue Jays.
Hochhalter's next-level play calling and offensive execution helped lead the Jays to their fifth win of the 2022 season. Jamestown defeated Dickinson 33-8. Jamestown (5-1) is set to travel to Valley City to take on the undefeated Hi-Liners next Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Hochhalter is playing in his first complete varsity season to wrap up his high school football career.
The senior started the first four games of the 2021 season, but then suffered a broken collarbone in week No. 4 that kept him sidelined until the 2021 playoffs. His production in his seven games played helped lead the Blue Jays to its first state title since 1956 last November.
"I thought my season was done and even the doctors told me that I wasn't going to be able to come back but then I made a good recovery and I came back fast," Hochhalter said. "I had faith in my line and knew they were going to protect me and make it so I was able to do what I did last year. I had a really good team, a really good line and they made it really easy for me (last year). My mentality was just, go out there and be my best."
Not much has changed from his junior to senior year.
"I just want to keep on winning," Hochhalter said. "I want everyone to do their part and I'll do my part. All I want to do is win — not make any more mistakes, just play my football."
The senior has put up more than 1,200 yards through the air across six games played. He has thrown for more than 15 touchdowns and shows a natural knack for advancing his team down the field. Last week in the Blue Jays' 14-13 loss to Wahpeton, Hochhalter took a little over a minute to advance 84 of the 90 yards needed to win the game.
"It was a great drive," JHS head coach Bill Nelson said in an interview following the Jays' loss to Wahpeton. "Payton is a tremendously competitive young man. He's always going to work his tail off."
Hochhalter's work and competitive drive produced a different result Friday night.
On the opening play of the game, Hochhalter fired for a 14-yard completion to Tyson Jorissen. Two plays later, Hochhalter let fly a 54-yard pass to Preston Gall who ran into the endzone for the night's first score. The four-play drive covered 64 yards.
Nelson said the Midgets' offensive MO this season has been the run game but on the Midgets' initial offensive strike, they went through the air.
Junior quarterback Stephen Zawodney fired a 45-yard completion that put his team at the Blue Jays' 10-yard line. The signal caller then found Chase Selle in the right corner of the endzone to make it 7-6 Blue Jays. The Midgets made good on their two-point conversion attempt to claim the one-point lead.
"They are a heavy, heavy run team," Nelson said. "Then they come out and hit us with a few passes and score. Kudos to them but our kids were resilient and that's what we expected. We just had to step up and make plays and continue to take steps forward."
Nearly seven minutes of play elapsed before either team would put any more points on the board. With just over two minutes to play in the first, an eight-play 81-yard dive ended with a 4-yard pass from Hochhalter to Walters to claim a 13-8 lead.
"He did a great job," Nelson said of his QB. "He did a great job of taking what was there and not forcing things into a certain spot. He had a couple of throws he probably wished we could have gotten back but his elusiveness and ability to move in the pocket has been a big change."
The Jays were in a great offensive rhythm to end the first quarter and begin the second. With less than 90 seconds gone in the second frame, Hochhalter kept it himself to put to be a 10-play drive with a 5-yard touchdown yard. The two-point conversion from Hochhalter to Waters was good and the Jays took a 21-8 lead.
"I am glad he's on our side," Nelson said of Hochhalter.
Through the first 24 minutes of play, Hochhalter went 13-for-25 for 255 yards passing and four touchdowns. While the Jays utilized their signal-caller for the majority of the first half, they were pretty effective on the ground. Josh Robertson picked up 38 yards on nine carries through the first two frames.
Jamestown committed to more of a ground game in the final frame with Robertson picking up a couple of more yards but Hochhalter ended a 17-play, nearly six-minute drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Walters. The score put the Jays up 33-8 and it would end Hochhalter's time on the field.
The Jays' backup QB, Ryan Kallenbach, took his turn on the field with about five minutes remaining in regulation. Hochhalter ended week six 18-for-37 for 306 yards. His receivers were led by Walters who had six receptions for 95 yards and a pair of scores. Jorissen picked up six catches for 60 yards while Preston Gall came out with 107 yards on six catches.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the Jays know that if they play their game and stick together, a playoff berth could be theirs for the taking.
"We're going to continue to get better every day," Nelson said. "Continue to evolve, continue to have kids step up and keep moving forward. The kids did a great job tonight. It was a total team effort."
Jamestown 33, Dickinson 8
DHS 8 0 0 0 — 8
JHS 13 14 0 6 — 33
JHS: 54 yard pass by Hochhalter to Preston Gall, (Sara Sletto kick good), 10:45
DHS: 10 yard pass by Stephen Zwaodney to Chase Selle (Sam Stillings conversion), 9:10.
JHS: 4 yard pass by Hochhalter to Jackson Walters (kick blocked), 2:27
JHS: 5 yard run by Hochhalter (conversion good), 10:48
JHS: 41 yard pass by Hochhalter to Nate Walz (conversion failed), 0:22
JHS: 18-yard pass by Hochhalter to Walters (conversion failed), 6:35.