Thursday, November 9, 2006
pull away in fourth; oust Hawks
By CLAUDE VINSON
Holly High head coach Clifford Brown would be the first to admit that the Hawks did not play well at all in their playoff opener in Amory.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Brown, whose team fumbled six times and lost four, plus threw two interceptions. “Defensively, we made them earn it, but we just didn’t help ourselves on the offensive side of the football.”
The Hawks had first possession and went three and out.
The Panthers’ Richard McFadden set up operations from the shotgun. He was rushed and sacked by the Hawks and was forced to try a fourth and 14. His carrier was stopped by a tough Hawks’ defense. As impressive as that was, the Hawks went three and out again.
The Panthers turned a couple of first downs and McFadden used a fake-delay to get it to the ten, but the first quarter expired with the ball on the five. After the change of direction, Frank Pruitt scored on a 1-yard run. Patrick Mooneyham tacked on the two points.
Disaster struck the first time for the Hawks. On a bad pitch out, the ball was mishandled, fumbled, and scooped up by Amory’s Frank Cockerham, who scored. The extra-point attempt was no good.
On the kick, Desley Brown ran it back to the 25. He got the call again and put the ball inside the red zone. He then swept the left end for the score. Jamie Echols booted the extra point and the Hawks were in it 14-7.
With Jeremy Boyd, Marvin Lucas and Chris Bridgeforth applying the heat, the Panthers’ McFadden was sacked, hurried and sacked again (by Cordell Stephens).
The Hawks had two fumbles and an interception to kill their last first half drives and went into intermission still trailing 14-7.
Holly High came out of the locker room with purpose. Stephens dumped the quarterback again on a fourth and one, then D. Brown picked up the first down. The Hawks did a little razzle-dazzle with Marcell Johnson throwing a 36-yard pass to Courtney Bowen. The kick was partially blocked, but the Hawks had moved to within one point at 14-13.
The Panthers answered, scoring on a reverse and converting for two.
The Hawks failed to move the ball but did pick up a pair of back-breaking calls – a personal foul and then an unsportsmanlike conduct. They stopped the Amory touchdown but the Panthers kicked a 29 yard field goal to make it 25-13.
The chances for the Hawks started to diminish after that. They found themselves having to operate from deep within their endzone. They lost another fumble, which turned into six points after McFadden called a keeper. Brett Spencer kicked the extra point to make the final score 32-13.
Coach Brown selected Boyd, the defensive leader on the night, as most valuable player. He amassed 32 defensive points in Brown’s rating system. He had nine solo tackles, five assists, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and two quarterback sacks.
“We played very good on the defensive side of the ball,” he said.
The Panthers (7-4) move on to the second round to face Booneville (also 7-4). The Hawks season ended with a mark of 5-6.
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