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Photos by Russell Adcox
Story By Torsheta Jackson
It took a while for them to get started but once Hartfield Academy found their rhythm there was no looking back. The Hawks pummeled Pillow Academy 49-0 in a game that featured a running clock the entire second half.
The Hawks scored first with 3:56 seconds left to play in the first half when senior Xavier Davis punched in a touchdown to complete a 3 play, 72-yard drive. Senior Weston Adcock cleared the uprights and Hartfield led 7-0. On the second play of the next drive, Pillow quarterback Drew Lamb’s pass was intercepted by Hartfield’s Gage Sorrey. One snap later with 2:56 left in the first quarter, Hartfield quarterback Cruz Garner connected with Blake Condon for their team’s second touchdown of the night.
Garner’s leadership was a major factor in the Hawk’s win. The dual-threat QB completed six of nine passes for a total of 132 yards and two touchdowns. He also had three carries for 57 yards. “He was locked in,” said Hartfield head coach Craig Bowman. “He played really well.”
Pillow answered with an impressive drive downfield and into the endzone, but an offensive holding penalty negated the score. Hartfield took advantage with 7:25 left in the second quarter and added seven more to the board with an 11-yard touchdown run from Davis and the extra point by Adcock. On the second play of the Hawk’s next possession, sophomore Reed Jesiolowski scored on a 42-yard run.
The Mustangs pushed into the red zone again, but defensive tackle Jay Smith caused a series of fumbles which set up a punt from inside the endzone. Smith blocked the kick making way for Davis’s catch and score giving Hartfield a 35-0 lead.
Hartfield’s underclassmen had the opportunity to showcase their talent in the shortened second half. Dawson Pike picked up his first touchdown of the season on a 17-yard reception near the seven-minute mark in the third quarter. When the offense returned to the field, Jesiolowski was under center. On his first snap, he completed a 55-yard run for a touchdown. Jesiolowski is one of several sophomores having a major impact this season.
“Antonio Ross is our sophomore tackle,” said Bowman. “Also Jordyn Erves, Hudson McIntyre and Chris Jones are a huge part of the success we are having.”
Pillow rushed for 117 yards and Lamb completed 5 of 14 passes for 43 yards. They are now 2-1.
“Obviously we are disappointed in the score but we played a really good football team,” said Pillow coach Jim Crowder. “Hartfield is well-coached, big and physical. We did some good things early and felt like we went toe to toe with them for a good while, but just could not execute on some things.”
In addition to turnovers and missed opportunities, Pillow had 4 penalties for 40 yards and only converted on one of 11 third-down attempts.
“We made some costly mistakes and just gave up too many explosive plays through the air,” said Crowder. “We’ve gotta respond to adversity a little bit better. There are going to be some bad things that happen throughout the course of a football game and whether you win or lose depends on how you respond to those things and last night we didn’t do a very good job of responding to adversity.”
Hartfield is 3-0 in their first season in the MAIS 6A division. They will face their first division opponent Presbyterian Christian next week. “We are excited for the challenge of the 6A schedule,” Bowman said. “PCS is a great program and we are looking forward to a week of preparation and going to Hattiesburg for a great game.”