Oak Forest had too big of a hill to climb.
Sebastian Hill, that is. The 6-foot, 165-pound junior wide receiver caught four touchdown passes from Nathan Righi and the Pekin football team beat Oak Forest 30-7 on the road Friday night in a season opener.
The TDP’s from Righi to Hill went for 55 yards in the first quarter, 5 yards and 4 yards in the second quarter and 16 yards in the fourth quarter.
For the night, Hill had seven catches for 96 yards. Righi was 15 of 28 passing for 166 yards in his first varsity start at quarterback.
Doug Nutter, in his 10th year as the Dragons coach, said he couldn’t recall the last time a Pekin receiver caught four touchdown passes in a game. Neither could several longtime Pekin football fans who responded to a weekend Facebook post.
“Sebastian got open and finished plays. Nathan threw some nice passes to him, our offensive line gave Nathan time to throw, and we took advantage of what their defense was giving us,” Nutter said.
Pekin’s offensive line of center Derek Brown, guards Ethan Trumpy and Dawson Coon and tackles Chase Gann and Adam King also opened holes for Brayden Cruz to rush for 125 yards on 25 carries.
“(Assistant coach Mark Frederick) does a great job coaching our O-line,” Nutter said.
Brody Dailey was on the receiving end of four of Righi’s passes for 45 yards.
Nutter also dished out praise for the Pekin defense, which held Oak Forest to 83 yards on the ground, 74 yards passing, and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Juan Avila to Javon Carrington in the second quarter. Oak Forest averaged just 2.6 yards per rushing attempt.
“Oak Forest is a run-heavy team that plays smash mouth football,” he said. “Our guys on defense did a great job swarming to the ball, bottling them up inside and making open-field tackles.”
Nutter liked the work inside of defensive tackles Gavin Reese and Zach Pawelczak.
Conner Rush made a big play with an interception in the end zone -- one of three turnovers created by Pekin’s defense -- and Devin Torvea was credited with safety when he tackled Oak Forest ball carrier Evan Scarpetta in the end zone in the third quarter.
Statistically, Pekin’s defense was led by Brody Carroll (one solo, eight assists), Sam Dunn (nine assists) and Dallas Haynes (one solo, six assists).
Righi was perfect on four PAT attempts and he put two punts inside the Oak Forest 20-yard line.
Not all was perfect in the Dragons’ win. Pekin had two turnovers and nine penalties for 75 yards.
Those miscues will be addressed in practice this week by Nutter as the Dragons prepare for their home opener against powerhouse Sterling.
“We had some missed opportunities against Oak Forest,” Nutter said.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.