And Tattnall Square turned in a very familiar performance in rolling past Dominion Christian 41-8 on Friday night to give Hester his 300th career win.
The suspense was over early on as to whether the Trojans would deliver the milestone win as well as satisfy the homecoming crowd.
Hester had somewhat successfully downplayed talk of the accomplishment, until gameday and The Telegraph hit the driveway with a big feature on the impending milestone.
“I hadn’t talked a lot about it, because I don’t deal with that stuff,” he said. “Then a big, big article comes out, you get up on Friday morning and see your dang mug shot on the page, it kind of brought it to light.
“I got several messages (Friday) and that’s the one thing I said, Let’s get this thing over with and just win.”
As the final seconds ticked off on the humid night, Tattnall’s coaches congratulated Hester, and the Trojans surrounded their coach as he tried to make his way to the handshake line.
At midfield, while thanking all of his former players and their parents, Hester was given a shiny pennant that had been produced with a picture of him and a listing of his accomplishments. He introduced his family and got a kiss from Mom, his mother Shirley coming up from Dublin for the first time in three or four years. And as that postgame huddle broke, an odd sight for a Friday night — a cake.
“Coach Ratliff asked me this week what I wanted to do about it,” Hester said of athletics director and assistant coach Jeff Ratliff during his talk to players and fans. “I said, ‘Coach, do what you got to do.’ But this is pretty neat.”
Equally neat for Hester and the Trojans was the ease with which they disposed of Dominion Christian, which Hester said was down a few starters because of injury.
“They scored 33 points on Stratford,” Hester said of his rival’s 55-33 win last week over the Knights, who were within 20-18 after a quarter. “It was close for a while.”
The Trojans went 43 yards on 8 plays to score on their first possession, Andrew Layson going in from 2. Tattnall fumbled on its second possession, sent Dominion Christian backwards 22 yards, then scored on a 4-play, 30-yard drive that took less than 90 seconds, Andrew Parker getting the honors from the 2.
The Knights gave the ball back two plays later deep, and John Rader kept from 10 yards out on the first play.
Dominion Christian followed its initial first down with an interception by Gahrett Gaylord on the second play, and Rader rolled left and dumped it to Ryan Mosley, who got a block from Lance Manning and finished off the 69-yard touchdown for a 27-0 lead on the final play of the first quarter.
Big junior Arthur Williams, a 5-foot-10, 227-pounder listed as a noseguard and wearing No. 62, followed a 3-yard gain with a rumbling, tackle-breaking 41-yard score to finish a 5-play, 68-yard drive.
Tattnall followed another three-and-out with a three-play drive, Hunter Lanier and Williams getting 56 yards on the first two plays and Conner Alford going in from the 1 for a 41-0 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first half.
Dominion Christian lost 65 yards on 13 rushes while Tattnall had 27 carries for 246 yards in the first 24 minutes. The Knights finished with minus-13 rushing and the Trojans had 324 yards on the ground.
“I thought we took control of the line of scrimmage,” Hester said. “We probably could have thrown it more. All these folks would like me to throw it more, but we win pretty good without throwing it a lot.”
A well-rested Parker — the starters didn’t break a sweat in the second half, at least not from playing — was naturally happy to be part of a team that handed Hester yet another milestone.
“It really wasn’t that big a discussion out on the field,” he said. “But in the locker room, we all talked about it, making sure that we got it for him. We wanted to be the class that got it.”