Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007
Wildcats spoil Hawks’ first game on home field
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Independence train rolled into town and Sam Coopwood field and dashed the hopes of the Holly High Hawks on a number of fronts.
First, it was the first time this season that the Hawks would be granted a home field advantage. Secondly, it was Holly High’s homecoming. And last, it was a chance to pick up their first win in Region 3-3A.
The Wildcats were over the ball first and set the tone for their game. Dedrick Lee slipped coverage and caught one in the endzone. After a good kick it was 7-0.
The Hawks, conversely, lost ground on their very first possession. A mix-up in the backfield cost them a couple of yards. They moved to the 22 and Demetri Oliver, the Hawks’ quarterback, swept right on an option and picked up the first down. Their second first down came when Desley Brown took a hand-off and sped through the line to the Wildcat 28. Oliver was still mixing his plays and the Wildcats’ defense was having trouble stopping Desley Brown. At a fourth and three, Oliver again used the option to pick up the first and rest the ball on the 16. They faced another fourth and three at the 10. Cliff Brown was stopped for no gain trying to convert the fourth.
The quarter ended with the Wildcats still in the lead 7-0. The Hawks’ defense had started to pressure Jeremy Langston, the Independence signal caller. The ball went back and forth and the quarter was used up in a stale mate. With just minutes left and facing another fourth down situation, Oliver threw a desperation pass which was picked off by D.J. Newson. But the Hawks held and took the ball on downs. Their offense suffered the same fate and they went three and out.
Independence moved speedily downfield and Langston threw a flare to a wide open London Parker who went in standing up. After the booted PAT it was 14-0. And that was the mark at intermission.
The Hawks received to start the second half. Oliver broke Desley Brown to the right. He moved the chains to the Wildcats 39. On a fourth and 11, Oliver was picked again. But the defense was still digging in and they held the Wildcats; then the kick reception was bobbled.
However, an alert Hawk scooped it up and returned it to the 29. But the Hawks turned it over on fourth and 1. This left the Wildcats with their backs against the wall, but Lacy Jackson got them out of the hole with a run over center. The third ended with the Hawks still scoreless at 14-0.
The Hawks opened the fourth with Desley Brown running the field and placing the ball on the 17. Oliver called slant and hit Darryl Kinkle for the score. James Echols kick made it 14-7.
Holly High finally seemed to be gaining momentum, but the Wildcats were making too many gains on the ground using two strong running backs, Jackson and Antonio Burton. They were chewing up valuable minutes. They scored on a straight buck up the middle. The extra point try missed. The score was 20-7 with 5:13 left in the game.
With the clock rapidly ticking away, Holly High went to a hurry-up offense. The passes were incompletes although they stopped the clock; however this didn’t aid the Hawks cause. They turned it over on downs.
The Wildcats were methodical in chewing up time and slowing moving the ball. Finally, Langston hit Jackson for the last score of the game. The quarter ended with a final of 26-7.
Head coach Clifford Brown selected Oliver as the most valuable player of the game.
“He’s still growing and showing signs of improvement,” Coach Brown said about his sophomore quarterback. “He had a couple of nice runs and some passes on the money.”
He said his Hawks are remaining positive despite the 1-4 record at the halfway point.
“We’re still in this thing (playoff chase),” Brown said. “We need to run the table.
“Things aren’t going the way we anticipated, but the kids are staying together. We talk about dealing with adversity. It’s all positive.
“Offensively, we’re moving the ball up and down the field until we get into scoring territory. We’ve got to find a way to punch it in.
“Defensively, we played pretty well Friday night. We just missed some assignments.”
During halftime activities, Alicia Crane was crowned queen, First runner-up was Candice Miller. Second was Roshanee Gaines. The court was rounded out Kierra Jeffries, Roneisha Jones and Kierica Autry.
The Hawks next game is at home this Friday night against the Senatobia Warriors (4-1).
“We have the toughest opponent in the division coming to our house,” Coach Brown said. “We have to play better.”
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