Thursday, October 2, 2008
Hawks score late to turn back ’Cats
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Hawks overcame a first half lead by the Independence Wildcats Friday night to win their first divisional game in heart-stopping fashion on the road.
The Hawks received first and Demetri Oliver went to the air almost immediately – a swing pass right to Darryl Kinkle and then one to the left. A penalty favored the Hawks and they were first and goal at the 9. But, alas, two consecutive penalties set the Hawks back. A third infraction and the Hawks had to try for a field goal. Tyrone Miller’s kick went wide right.
London Parker was calling signals for the Wildcats. The wily, wiry quarterback could not foil the Hawks’ defense and they punted to the Hawks’ 21.
With 5:21 left in the quarter and on the second possession of the game, Oliver called a fake delay which was caught way down field by Kinkle; however, an illegal motion call nullified the gain. They tried the same play but it was tipped in heavy defensive pressure and landed in the hands of a Wildcat defender.
On the third play Norris Malone scored for the hosts. Their try for the extra point failed and the Wildcats were tagged for a wild celebration in the end zone after the TD.
Chris Scales fielded the short kick at the 47. Holly High went back to work with 2:40 left in the first quarter. The Hawks suffered more yellow flags but thanks to the running of Scales, most of the penalized yards were recouped. From the wingback formation, Oliver hit Kinkle dead over center and he outran all Wildcats for the evening TD. Holly High’s try for PAT also failed.
Holly High held the Wildcats on their next downs. Scales was able to turn one first down before time expired. The quarter ended with the score tied 6-6.
Scales moved the chains again, placing the ball on the 42. But Holly High had to punt after a trio of failed plays. However, the Hawks defense was rock solid again and allowed the Wildcats only two yards. The Hawks took over again on their 37 and after a pass interference call were again in in dependence territory at the 49. Scales burst through the line and put the Hawks at the 28. A big break came their way. A personal foul moved them to the 11 with a fresh set of downs. Scales took it in from there, making it 12-6 after a failed PAT.
After a series failure by Holly High, Ross Tanner took the Hawks’ kick and returned it 85 yards to tie the score at 12. The PAT failed.
But the Wildcats got the ball right back and Parker hit a receiver for a quick strike and a TD. This time their try for the extra point was good.
The Hawks had just 27 seconds to try and tie the score before the half. Time ran out and it was 19-12 at the intermission in favor of the Wildcats.
The Hawks stopped the Wildcats on their series and Kinkle gave the Hawks three consecutive firsts. Then Jamorris Holts picked up another. They were set back by a penalty. Oliver called on Scales again and he went to the 6. There were off-setting penalties after which Scales carried twice, going in standing up from the 4. The Hawks tried for a tie but didn’t make it. The quarter ended with the Hawks still behind 19-18.
The last quarter saw the Hawks still struggling to penetrate a stronger Wildcats defense. The Hawks went three and out. The battle seesawed for about six minutes. The Hawks had the ball again with 3:14 left in the fourth.
The Hawks faced tough opposition as they were determined to move the ball down field. At 1:37 remaining, Scales moved the chains to the 30 on a third and four. Kinkle saved the bacon again with a buttonhook over center. Oliver rushed up and spiked the ball with 36.4 seconds left.
There was some sort of controversy which the officials took a few minutes to sort out. It probably worked in the Hawks favor. Brandon Thomas, who had left the game earlier because of an injury, had been inserted back into the lineup and expertly slipped behind all goal-line defenders to catch the winning TD pass from Oliver. Oliver kept and punched the two-point try in to give the Hawks the important victory at 26-19.
Coach Clifford Brown named Chris Scales as the game MVP.
“This win should boost our kids’ confidence,” Brown said. “Our kids showed a lot of resilience. I’m real, real proud of our kids.”
Next up for the Hawks (2-3 overall and 1-1 in the district) is an away game at Senatobia, another division foe, on Friday night, Oct. 3. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
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