Grayson County pulled out a 1-point victory over Hancock County Hornets during an entertaining high school football contest at GN Excavating Stadium Friday. The Cougars converted a fourth quarter extra point try to win 15-14.
The Hornet players left it all on the field and they led for much of the game against the 5A school
with a 9-1 record.
“This was another one of those games where one or two mistakes… a call here or there and we
come out with a different outcome,” HCHS coach Bobby Eubanks said. “We’re a few points away from
being 8-2 instead of 6-4.”
Led by the hard hitting of Ross Powers, the Hancock defense played very well while holding the
Cougars to its second lowest offensive output this year. The Hornets forced back-to-back punts in the
first quarter before the Hancock offense took control.
Landen Garrison made a big catch for a first down on a nice throw from Dylan Morris. Garrison was
hit hard at the moment of possession and the senior held on at the Cougars’ 39 yard line.
Aiden Weatherholt moved the sticks before Jaxson Morris carried to inside the red zone on a wildcat
play as the quarter expired.
Dylan Morris was back in at quarterback and a completion to Luke Pritchard reached the seven yard
line. Two plays later Dylan Morris scored on a sneak play with Pritchard and Aiden Thrasher helping to
push him into the end zone. Morris went to Pritchard on a successful 2-point conversion pass play and
the Hornets led 8-0 with 9:55 remaining in the half.
Grayson County mounted a drive on the ensuing possession that resulted in a 19-yard touchdown
run by Kadin Hanshaw. The Cougars converted a 2-point try and the scored was tied.
The Hornets looked to Chris Gillispie after the kickoff and the running back ran for a first down to
midfield. Weatherholt made a nifty run for a first down to the 37 yard line then Cooper Jones made a
catch to reach the 29.
Dylan Morris completed a pass to Jaxson Morris to inside the 10 yard line, but a penalty wiped out
the gain and an interception on the next play stopped the drive as time ran down in the first half.
The second half
Grayson County tried for an onside kick to begin the second half, but Alex Madden was ready and
he fielded the ball safely for the Hornets.
Dylan Morris threw deep on first down to Jones and the sophomore receiver looked to be interfered
with, but the officials did not agree.
The Hornets later faced a fourth–and–four on their own side of the field and the offense lined up to go for it. Morris completed a pass to Garrison on the run and the speedy #21 carried the ball to inside the Grayson County 30 yard line. It was a gutsy call that paid off.
The drive later stalled when a Dylan Morris pass attempt was intercepted at the Cougars three yard
line. The Hornet defense stepped up and forced a three–and–out. Powers laid the wood on Hanshaw
before Garrison and Jones defended a deep pass attempt and forced another punt by the Cougars.
The Hornets began with excellent field position at the Grayson 47 yard line and Weatherholt got the
carry on first down. The senior ran through one tackle then ran over another defender for a nice gain.
Gillispie picked up a first down and the offense was rolling. Weatherholt capped off the drive with a 14-
yard TD run. Pritchard made a catch on the conversion try, but the big man was hit at the goal line and
the officials ruled him short.
The Hornets led 14-8 with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter.
Grayson County was looking to answer and they faced a fourth–and–six from the the Hornets’ 41
yard line. Quarterback Kolby Chaffins rolled out to his right and completed a first down pass to Mason
Cariel. Powers hammered Cariel on the play and the Cougar receiver had to be assisted off the field.
He did not return to the game.
The Cougars’ drive continued into the fourth quarter and Chaffins was hit hard by Weatherholt and
Powers. The QB got up slowly, but he was able to stay in the game. Two plays later he completed a screen pass to Hanshaw who carried to the Hornets’ one yard line. Hanshaw later scored on a 1-yard
The game was tied at 14 and the Cougars elected to kick for the PAT. Joshua Beasley came on and
booted the ball through the uprights for the go-ahead score.
The Hornets still had time to win, but they faced a fourth–and–two at their own 37 yard line. They
lined up to go for it and Gillispie made the play for the first down. The team later turned the ball over on
downs and the Cougars was poised to run out the clock.
Weatherholt had other ideas and he stripped the ball from Chaffins and Jack Roberts made the
recovery, giving the Hornets one more chance.
Roberts ran for a big gain to the Grayson 34 yard line and later picked up another first down at the
23. Weatherholt carried to inside the 10 and Hornets looked to be going in for the win, but the officials dropped a flag and called holding on the offense.
Hancock County later faced a fourth down and a pass attempt from Morris to Morris fell incomplete
with 37 seconds on the clock. The Cougars took a knee and escaped with the win.
“I’m super proud of the effort. We played with a lot of fire, like we did earlier in the season. It was
good to see that,” Eubanks said of his team. “Grayson County is a good 5A football team so this was a
good test for us right before the playoffs. We took them to the wire.”
Hancock County gained 162 yards rushing and 110 passing for 272 total yards. Grayson County had
164 total yards of offense.
Powers and Weatherholt led the way defensive. Powers made 18 tackles, with two tackles for loss.
Weatherholt made 11 stops and recorded one sack.
Wyatt Emmick made seven tackles, Jones made six, Hayden Shearn, Jaxson Morris and Trevan Coiles (TFL) all had five each, Aiden Thrasher had three stops and one sack and Roberts made three tackles. Garrison made two stops and Gillispie, Austin Ramsey, Aiden Embry and Pritchard all made one tackle each.
Dylan Morris completed 13 of 24 pass attempts for 110 yards. Garrison had four receptions for 70
yards, Jones had three for 17 yards, Morris three for 16 yards, Pritchard two for five yards and Roberts
one for two yards.
Gillispie led in rushing with 49 yards, Weatherholt gained 40 yards, Roberts 33 yards, Jaxson Morris
23 yards, Dylan Morris seven yards, Pritchard six yards and Garrison four yards.
Hanshaw led GCHS with 101 yards from scrimmage.
By Steve Wimmer