Hancock Hawks defense helped shut out Pearl River Central in football opener

Pearl River Central running back Louis Reece attempts to gain yardage against a stiff Hancock County defense during Friday night's game.
Pearl River Central running back Louis Reece attempts to gain yardage against a stiff Hancock County defense during Friday night's game. Picayune Item

The Hancock Hawks’ defense set the tone early and the offense followed suit as the Hawks (1-0) cruised to a 35-0 victory over the Pearl River Central Blue Devils at Brett Favre Field.

The victory was the first for new Hancock Head Coach Neil Lollar.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Lollar said. “We played fast and with intensity all night.”

The Hawks’ defense set the tone early forcing a three-and-out thanks to stops from Cameron Blaize and Trenton Ladner.

On the Blue Devils’ next drive, a hit by Hancock’s Drake Necaise caused a fumble that was picked up by Brodie Fitts who returned it 57 yards for a touchdown.

Elliot Nolan added the point-after to give the Hawks the early 7-0 lead.

Later in the first quarter, the Blue Devils got their best chance of the game to score when a bad snap on a punt gave them great field position at the Hawk 12.

The Blue Devils were unable to take advantage of the gift, however, and they gave the ball back to Hancock at the 30.

On the Hawks’ first play after the possession change, Rondell Womack took an end-around and galloped 70 yards for his first career touchdown.

The point-after made the score 14-0 late in the first quarter.

Late in the second quarter, Junior quarterback Caleb Garcia and the Hawks’ passing game came alive with three consecutive completions for a total of 66 yards.

Garcia connected with Anthony Jones for 35 yards; Chase McDonald for 22 yards; and finally with Brooks Rayburn on a 13-yard touchdown strike.

Nolan’s point-after gave the Hawks a 21-0 lead with 1:03 to play in the half.

“The drive before the half was huge,” Lollar said. “Once Caleb settled down, he began to make plays.”

Hancock salted the game away with two more touchdowns late in the third quarter.

The first was set up by a 34-yard completion from Garcia to Rayburn to the one-yard line. Blake Comeaux took it in from there. Nolan’s point-after moved the Hawks lead to 28-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Hancock’s Trenton Ladner recovered a fumble at the Blue Devils’ 35.

Five plays later, Garcia took a keeper in from five yards out for Hancock’s final touchdown of the evening.

Nolan’s point-after moved the score to 35-0.

In the fourth quarter, Lollar got some of his younger players some experience.

Neither team was able to score in the quarter.

“The defense set the tone, and we never looked back,” Lollar said. “The score speaks for itself.”

Ladner led the Hawks defense with 12 tackles and two fumble recoveries. McDonald added nine stops, five of which were for a loss.

On offense, Womack led the Hawks with 85 yards on five carries.

Rayburn caught three passes for 47 yards and a score.

The Hawks will travel to South Jones next Friday.