Thursday, September 2, 2010
Successful debut for new coach
By CLAUDE VINSON
The Hawks kicked off their 2010 gridiron campaign Friday against a visiting squad from nearby H.W. Byers.
The Lions had the first possession and they got a boost from the Hawks’ defense, which committed two successive penalties for a total of 25 yards. One was for unsportsmanlike conduct and the other was a face mask call. The unexpected help was almost wiped away by a bad snap which cost the Lions 20 yards. Short seconds later and they were hit with an offsides which brought up a fourth and 34 at the 34.
The Hawks took over on their 46 after the punt with Brandon McKinney calling the signals. A breakout run by Dimariggio Austin earned a first down. It was followed by another first on a keeper by McKinney at the 29. Austin struck for another first inside the red zone. Byers was tagged by a face mask, which awarded the Hawks with a first and goal. Lexter Mull went right up the middle for six. McKinney lined up and booted the extra point, giving the Hawks a 7-0 lead on their first possession.
The Lions couldn’t advance and faced a fourth and two after an encroachment penalty. The punter got off a long one which carried to the 10. The Hawks’ offense lost ground consistently, going to a second and 24 at quarter’s end. After the change of direction, a little swing pass to Mull was complete but it was not enough. The Hawks had to punt again.
The Lions’ offense was still without luck and went three and out.
Holly High moved the chains on a pass play from McKinney to David Bridges and got 10 more on a flare left to Shaquille Faulkner. Austin had another break-through run for paydirt which was nullified by a holding call. They had to give up the pigskin.
Byers was still having problems getting its offense on track. A short, high punt left the ball 5 yards shy of midfield. Both squads were hit with unsportsmanlike calls and the infractions offset. It gave the Hawks new life and Peter Thigpen caught a long McKinney pass which carried to the 2. Mull finished it off with a short gallop. The try for a extra point failed and the Hawks went up 13-0.
Holly High got the ball back in short order and connected on a fake delay for 40 yards. After a timeout, Austin scored again on a screen. They failed to convert again and the half expired on the 19-0 score.
Holly High received to start the second half, still plagued by penalties. The Hawks went four and out on the series.
The Lions went to work from their 31 with Anthony Rubin running the offense. They had to punt away and again both sides were flagged with off-setting penalties. Byers committed a face-mask penalty and set the Hawks up on the 20. On the next play the ball-carrier was drilled in the backfield for a 6-yard loss. But Holly High came right back and McKinney found Jaren King on a screen right over center for 18 yards and a score. The point-after try was no good but the Hawks still had a 25-0 margin.
On their next possession, McKinney called his own number at the 23 and went in standing up to tack on six more for a 31-0 tally.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Lions had to go to punt formation. A mishandled punt snap was almost made good when the kicker spotted an open man downfield, well beyond the first down marker, but the ball went through the receiver’s arms.
The Hawks put Brandon Galloway under center after an interception of a Byers pass. They lost the ball on a fourth down gamble. The Lions seemed determined to avoid the shutout and began moving with dedication after taking over on the 22. Trelorenz Stephens got a first on an end-around . He picked up another 5 up the middle on an option. Javis Spencer came out of the backfield and ran to the 37. He carried again for the first at the 15. Rubin then hit Courtney Fitchpatrick on a crossing pattern for the score. They didn’t convert and the score was 31-6.
The last quarter was bleeding away and the Lions tried an onsides kick, which was grabbed after it went the legal distance and returned 45 yards by Holly High’s Tevin Jones for the final touchdown of the game. The extra point was booted through for a 38-6 Holly High victory.
McKinney passed for 165 yards and rushed for 87 yards.
Marcus Autry was happy with the win in his first game as the Hawks’ head coach.
“It’s good for the program,” he said. “The kids were very excited (after going 0-11 a year ago). I think it will be a boost going into a big rivalry game with Byhalia. We have to continue to work and get better.”
Coach James Kimbrough of Byers said he was not disappointed in his squad.
“My kids played hard,” he said. “Holly Springs is a bigger school just had us out-manned. Give Holly Springs credit. They are an improved team.”
The next game for Holly High will be at rival Byhalia Friday. The Lions will host Tupelo Christian the same night.
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