It was a tale of two halves Friday night at Brett Favre Field.
The Hancock Hawks played inspired football in the first half en route to a 10-7 halftime lead, but the Gulfport Admirals scored 31 unanswered points in the second half to take home a 38-10 victory.
“It was just a bad second half for us,” Hawks coach Rocky Gaudin said. Two weeks in a row now, things have gone the wrong way in a hurry. We have to be perfect to win games. We were not perfect tonight.”
An interception by Hancock’s Riley Martinez in the red zone ended the Admirals’ first drive.
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Gulfport took a 7-0 lead when Cleveland Ford connected with Sean Daniels on 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:10 left to play in the opening quarter.
Hancock answered with a 14-play drive that spanned 72 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 7-7. The Hawks got a good mix of running and short passing on the drive. Quarterback Steven Good completed six passes on the drive. Marquis Cherry capped the march with a one-yard run with 10:42 left to play in the half.
On the Admirals’ next drive, Ford was sacked by Zack Flowers on a third-down play. The play temporarily knocked Ford out of the game. He did not return until midway through the third period.
Taking over at its own 37, Hancock embarked on another long drive, ending in a 34-yard field goal by Nolan with just over to minutes two play in the half. Hancock led 10-7 at halftime.
The Hawks received the second half kickoff. Good was intercepted by Chad Crenshaw, who returned the pick 60 yards for a score and a 14-10 Gulfport lead.
After a Hancock punt, the Admirals took over at their own nine.
Ford and Jalen Knight connected on a 91 yard TD play for a 21-10 Admirals lead.
Gulfport’s Princeton Fells’ 47 yard fumble return for touchdown extended the Admirals’ lead to 28-10 with 3:38 to play in the third.
The Admirals closed the fourth quarter with 10 points: Suddeth’s 20-yard field goal and Ta’Quoris Newsome’s 15-yard run.
Ford completed 13 of 22 passes for 248 yards and two scores. He left the game early in the fourth after another hard hit and did not return. Knight hauled in five passes for 155 yards.
Good was 18 of 29 for 127 yards. Cherry led all rushers in the game with 62 yards on 18 carries.