Last week, Hancock High coach Rocky Gaudin said a major goal this year was to run the ball more effectively and stop the run.
On Friday, the Hawks did just that en-route to a 31-6 victory over Pass Christian in their season-opener at Brett Favre field.
“That is what we have been stressing,” Gaudin said. “It gets simple if you do those things. If you don’t, then it’s going to be hard. I thought we played really well tonight against a good Pass team.”
The Hawks amassed nearly 300 yards on the ground, while limiting the Pirates to 160 yards.
The Pirates dominated the first seven minutes of the game. Pass took the opening kickoff and drove 58 yards for its only score.
The drive was aided by two big third-down conversions: a 17-yard run by V.J. Swanier; and the second a 16-yard run by quarterback Gerald Jones.
Jermaine Dedeaux capped the drive with a 10-yard TD run at the 6:34 mark of the first quarter. The extra-point, however, was blocked by Hancock’s Drake Necaise.
On the ensuing kickoff, Pass Christian recovered a fumble at the Hawk 26-yard-line. But on the next offensive play, Swanier fumbled and Necaise recovered at the six.
Hancock went to work, marching 94 yards on seven plays to take the lead.
Marquis Cherry collected 57 yards rushing on the drive. Quarterback Steven Good connected with Brooks Rayburn on a 32-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive. Elliot Nolan’s kick gave the Hawks a 7-6 lead with 4:06 left in the first quarter.
“I was a little nervous for a second there, but our kids handled the adversity well,” Gaudin said.
After a defensive stop, the Hawks marched 75 yards in 15 plays to score again. This time it was Nolan who booted a 24-yard field goal to give the Hawks a 10-6 lead midway through the second quarter.
Hancock extended its lead to 17-6 at halftime when Cherry scored on a one-yard run. Cherry had a game-high 138 yards on 16 carries.
Hancock received the second half kickoff and drove 75 yards on 13 plays for its next touchdown. The drive, which took nearly seven minutes off the clock, ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Riley Martinez.
Late in the third, the Pirates got a chance to get back into the game when they recovered a muffed punt at the Hawk 16.
Hancock’s defense, however, stood tall and stopped the Pirates on downs when Zack Flowers and Jesse Evans tackled Nate Stewart for a one-yard loss on fourth down.
The Pirates’ next drive was stymied when Ray Ladner sacked Jones on another fourth-down attempt.
Leading 24-6, the Hawks drove 38 yards to put the game out of reach.
Good, who rushed for 108 yards on 12 carries in the game, capped the drive with a 10-yard scoring run. Nolan’s extra-point made the score 31-6 with 3:36 to play.
The Pirates drove inside the Hawks’ five in the final minutes, but the drive stalled when Ladner caused a fumble that was recovered by Brodie Fitts with 42 seconds remaining to play.
For the Pirates, Travon Frost posted seven tackles and two sacks. Blain Broussard led the team with 11 tackles.
Offensively, Swanier had a team-high 69 yards.
For the Hawks, Ray Ladner collected nine stops and two sacks. Trenton Ladner registered 12 tackles.
The Hawks travel to West Harrison next Friday, Pass Christian plays host to Resurrection.