Thursday, August 30, 2007
successful in jamboree
The eighth graders of Holly High lost to the eighth graders of New Albany last Thursday night, but that was the only low point for the Hawks. Fielding a team which looked better than it has in many years, the Holly High Hawks faced down the 4A Bulldogs in a warm-up which was a prelude to their season opener on August 31 at home.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball to begin the scrimmage in the junior varsity-varsity portion of the competition, and wasted little time in gaining two first downs against a defense which was being anchored by JeMorris Holt, Jason Hampton and Tyrone Miller.
They had the Bulldogs facing a fourth and three and the quarterback looking for a receiver when he spotted a clear path off the nose guard. He used a burst of speed and ran into the end zone giving the Bulldogs the 7-0 lead after a booted extra point.
Dean Bridgeforth, calling plays for the Hawks, handed off to Chris Scales who picked up the first down. The next was pitch-out to Datron Johnson on a second and 12. This set up the first down which was gained after a smooth hand off which went right by the New Albany right guard. Johnson moved them into scoring position at the 12. Bridgeforth tried a quarterback sneak around right end but went out of bounds at the 5. Scales then followed two blockers into the end zone for Holly High’s first jamboree score. The extra point was good and the score was tied 7-7.
The varsity players traded places with the JVs for both teams. The Bulldogs struck quickly on a sprint up the middle by their tailback. A booted extra point put the Bullies up 14-7.
After the change of possession, Demetri Oliver, leading the Hawks, tossed one to Daniel Burton and the big tight end grabbed the ball on the sideline at the 18.
Oliver used another pattern, throwing long to Brandon Thomas who caught it out of bounds. Clifford Brown almost broke a long one into the end zone. The next two plays failed and the Hawks were fourth and 20 at the 20. They gambled and sent the ball over on downs.
Burton, in a defensive role, rushed into the backfield and threw the New Albany fullback for a 13-yard loss. Holly High got a pair of breaks. The first was an incomplete pass and the second was a flag which moved the ’Dogs back to their own 16. They had to punt and the Hawks downed it on the 36.
The Hawks went to the ground, steadily moving the ball on the legs of Desley Brown. Oliver sneaked one in, and the Hawks evened the composite score at 14 all after the kick.
The Hawks retained possession after the break and the varsity remained on the field. However, their offense stalled and the ball went to the Bulldogs. The Hawks’ defense allowed a 63-yard rush on a keeper. Then the Holly High defense hurried the quarterback. The constant blitzing paid off. They took over the ball on downs at the 27.
But the Hawks, too, turned it over on downs, but caught another break when Scales intercepted the Bulldogs' first play.
Burton grabbed a pass and set up another first down which was also good for a first and goal. The horn sounded, signaling one more quarter to play with the score knotted 14-14.
The JVs took the field again and Bridgeforth bombed the Bulldogs with a long strike to Darcy Nunnally on a textbook pass which put the ball on the 16. Bridgeforth had to race to the sidelines on a broken play, but kept the ball and lost no ground. The ball was advanced farther by a face mask penalty and the Hawks punched it in three plays later. The extra point failed, but the Hawks held on to win 20-14.
The game was well managed by the coaches and the quarterbacks. The Hawks showed dedication, poise and determination. There were plenty of second efforts.
“I felt we were ahead of the curve on the offensive side, and we displayed that,” said head coach Clifford Brown. “Defensively, we had some kids step it up.
“I think we’re tired of bigger programs slapping us around.”
The players to watch this season for the Hawks will be Bridgeforth and Oliver plus Desley Brown and Scales.
The Hawks will spend the week preparing for the Commodores of Lafayette, a 4A school like New Albany. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday at Sam Coopwood Park.
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