Hancock produced one of its most thrilling victories on Friday at Brett Favre Field.
The Hawks (4-5) scored 22 points in the fourth quarter—15 of which came in the final two minutes and fifteen seconds—to stun the Harrison Central Red Rebels 38-31.
“Irving Favre used to say all the time,’just when you think those Hawks are done, they get their feathers ruffled’,” Hancock coach Rocky Gaudin said. “We have had so many tough losses over the past few years, it means a lot to get this one. We played with heart and we played the whole game. Coming off of last week, we told the team that this was a manhood check. They responded.”
Harrison Central raced out to lead on its second play from scrimmage as Keon Moore motored 80 yards for a touchdown.
Hancock answered quickly when Heath Dedeaux returned the kickoff back to the Red Rebel 45 and Trevor Wheat scored on a four-yard TD run seven plays later. The point-after was no good, and Harrison Central held a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Harrison Central dented the scoreboard twice in the second quarter with quarterback Tavis Williams scoring twice on runs of 16 and 59 yards.
Hancock’s Elliot Nolan booted a 41-yard field goal and Wheat capped a 72-yard drive late in the half to pull the Hawks within 21-16.
Moore led all rushers in the game with 170 yards on 17 carries. Williams added 168 yards on 20 carries.
Harrison Central opened the second half with a quick scoring drive, capped by Moore’s one-yard run to lead 28-16.
Hancock’s Steven Good connected with Dedeaux, who made a sliding catch to haul in a 16-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-11 play with just over nine minutes to play to get within 28-23.
“It was a big play,” Good said. “I think it showed us that we could win the game. We did not quit all night.”
Harrison Central then marched 68 yards to reach the Hawks’ six, but a third down stop by Jesse Evans and Trenton Ladner forced a field-goal attempt.
Alex Deleo connected on the 23-yard kick and Harrison Central extended their lead to 31-23 with 4:30 left.
Undaunted, the Hawks drove 65 yards in just over two minutes to reach the end zone. Hancock took advantage of a pass interference penalty and a personal foul to move the ball to Red Rebel territory. Good hit a wide-open Brooks Rayburn for a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Good connected with Chase McDonald for the two point conversion to tie the game at 31-31 with 2:15 left.
After the kickoff, Moore gave the Red Rebels great field position with a 33-yard run. But on the next play, Hancock’s Riley Martinez recovered a fumble at midfield.
Facing fourth-and-ten at the 40 with 37 seconds to play, Good connected with Rayburn for 10 yards and a roughing-the-passer call gave the Hawks a first down at the 15.
Hancock was 4-for-4 on fourth down conversions.
After the first down, Wheat carried for 12 yards to the three and then again into the end zone for a three-yard touchdown with just 16 seconds to play.
A last-second desperation pass by Harrison Central was incomplete and the Hawks stormed the field in celebration.
“I just kept telling the guys that our main goal was to have fun tonight,” Dedeaux said. “We were loose and having a good time.”
Gaudin felt great for the kids.
“They deserved this game,” Gaudin said. “It proves what we have been saying. We had every reason to pack it in after last week. The kids should be proud of themselves.”
Good finished the game with 16 completions on 31 passes for 207 yards and two scores. Rayburn led all receivers with seven grabs for 103.