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Hornets win 40-39 thriller at Dixon

Hornets offensive coordinator Trevor Garrison gets a hug from Cooper Jones mo- ments after Hancock County’s 40-39 win at Webster County Friday. —Photos by S.W.

The Hornets went on the road to Webster County Friday and came home with one of the biggest comeback wins and most exciting games played in the 51 year history of Hancock County football. The Hornets recovered from a 21 point deficit to win by a final score of 40-39.

“The way we battled back… it’s an awesome feeling to come out on the road in a district game against a ver y good foot- ball team and get this win. This was big,” HCHS coach Bobby Eubanks said.

The Trojans offense was hard to defend as they put up 33 first half points. The Hancock defense made a great stop on third down during Webster’s opening drive when Ross Powers got his hands on the quarterback deep in the backfield, but Brian Alfaro came in and booted a 31- yard field goal to put the home team on the scoreboard.

Hancock County looked to answer right away and Aiden Weatherholt put the Hornets in Trojan territory with a big, first down run. QB Dylan Morris went to the air and connected with Jaxson Morris for another first down before Jack Roberts capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Webster County had good field position at their own 41 yard line and it took just one play to regain the lead when Jackson Edens bounced outside on a run play and sprinted 59 yards to the end zone. The 2- point conversion made the score 11-6.

The Hornet defense got a stop and forced the Trojans to punt early in the second quarter and Landen Garrison pulled off a magic trick. The senior fielded the ball and ran toward the Hancock sideline. He faked a move to his left but when defenders went to make the tackle he wasn’t there. Garrison cut back to the right then sprinted untouched for a 70-yard TD return.

The Hornets now led 12- 11, but the Trojans regained the lead quickly again. This time QB Blake Hanor threw to Hayden Wright for a 16-yard TD to make it 17-12.

The Trojans got the ball back after a three–and–out by the Hornet offense. A pass interference penalty on Hancock gave the home team a first–and–goal inside the five yard line. Edens carried over for the TD and a successful conversion put Webster County ahead 25-12 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.

The Hornets were hurt by a holding penalty and the Trojans forced another punt. They took over with great field position and Edens looked like he was running for another TD when he was tackled from behind by Luke Pritchard. The Hornet lineman never gave up on the play and tracked down the speedy running back. Unfortunately, for the Hornets, Webster County eventually scored on another Hanor to Wright TD reception. The score was 33-12 with time running out in the half.

Morris went back to pass with 27 seconds on the clock and found a wide open Garrison. Landen made the catch at the Trojan 35 yard line and cruised in for the TD. The score gave life to the Hornets as they went to halftime now trailing 33-18.

Second half

Hancock County received the ball to begin the second half and they had to score. Wyatt Emmick started things off with a 22- yard run then added another first down.

The Hornets later faced a fourth–and–long when Morris threw deep toward the end zone. Webster was called for pass interference, but Hancock still needed to convert a fourth–and–five.

Weatherholt got the call and the senior moved the sticks with a big first down run. Emmick finished of f the critical drive with a 10- yard TD r un and Pritchard scored the conversion to bring the score to 33-26.

“We challenged them at halftime knowing we had to score on that first drive and we did that,” Eubanks said.

The Trojans were driving and Jarvis Starks Scott made three Hornet defenders miss before Pritchard made another big hit to save a touchdown. The save was temporary as Hanor connected with Wright for the duo’s third pass and catch for touch- down of the game. The Hornet defense made a big stop on the conversion, but the home team now led 39- 26.

“For a guy Pritchard’s size to run down two of the fastest guys we’ve played all year was impressive,” the coach said.

The Hornet offense faced another fourth down situation and Cooper Jones was interfered with on a pass play. The penalty, fol- lowed by great runs by Roberts and Weatherholt put Hancock County at the five yard line. Weatherholt carried in for the TD and Pritchard scored the 2- point conversion on a shovel pass from Morris.

The Trojans were driving again when Hayden Shearn sacked the quarterback for a big loss. Powers and Lawson Ward later hit Hanor as he was about to pass and the Hornet “D” stopped the home team on a fourth down try.

Morris was back to pass at his own seven yard line when he threw a strike to Garrison for a completion and a first down at the Hancock County 44 yard line.

Weatherholt followed with a 31-yard run to the Trojan 25, but a holding call limited the gain. Aiden got the ball again and he broke off another big run. This time there was no penalty and the Hornets had a first down at the 21 yard line.

Morris then connected with Jaxson Morris on a reception to inside the 10 yard line and Emmick put the Hornets on top with a 7-yard TD run.

Hancock County now led 40-39, but Webster County still had five minutes to work with.

Tyce Boling was set to kick off and the freshman delivered a pooch kick that bounced of f a Trojan. The ball was loose and Boling made the recover y. The Hornet bench went wild as the offense came back on the field.

“Our special teams played really well. The touchdown by Landen and Tyce did a great job,” the coach said.

Hancock County was looking to r un out the clock and Morris later con- ver ted a fourth–and–short on a keeper. The Hornet “O-line” was doing the job, but there was still 3:27 on the clock.

The Hornets still needed a first down and two plays later they faced a third– and–six. Hancock offensive coordinator Trevor Gar rison called a playaction pass play and Morris made the completion to Roberts for the key first down. A gutsy call that was executed perfectly by the offense.

The stats

Morris completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for 179 yards. Garrison had two receptions for 90 yards, Jax- son Morris had two for 42 yards, Pritchard two for 26 yards and Roberts two for 22 yards.

Weatherholt rushed for 144 yards on 23 car ries and Emmick ran 10 times for 78 yards. Rober ts gained 33 yards on five carries and Dylan Mor ris scored the 1- yard TD on his only carry.

Powers led the defense with 18 tackles that included two tackles for loss. Weatherholt had 17 stops with one TFL, Emmick had 12 tackles and one TFL, Garrison (TFL), Shear n (TFL) and Trevan Coiles all made eight stops each, Roberts made seven tack-

les, Aiden Embry had six and one TFL, War d had four and one TFL, Pritchard made three stops, Aiden Thrasher, Jones and Christian Yanez all made two tackles each, and Graham Shearn and Carson Clark made one each.

Members of the Hornets’ offensive line who did the work in the trenches are Tristan French, Lukas Anderson, Brooks Roberts, Cade Herndon, Aiden Thrasher and Lawson Ward.

By Steve Wimmer

 

By Steve Wimmer

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