RHS @ Hillgrove 11/21/2014
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Late Offensive Surge Not Enough as Hornets Fall to Hillgrove 38-28
A late 4th quarter comeback attempt by the Hornets came up short against the Hillgrove Hawks Friday night, and Roswell was eliminated from the 6A playoffs in a 38-28 loss.
The game started off well for the Hornet offense, when Sheldon Evans scored on a 64 yard run down the sideline on the team’s opening drive. Hillgrove answered quickly though, scoring two plays later on a long quarterback keeper that tied the score at 7 to end the 1st.
In the second quarter, the Hawks passing offense took center stage as the team put 14 points on the board on consecutive drives to make the score 21-7 late in the second. Roswell answered with a score of their own however, when a punt fumble recovery by Justus Harris was converted five plays later by Evans on a 2 yard TD run. Hillgrove added a field goal with less than a minute remaining in the second to take a 24-14 halftime lead into the locker room.
In the third quarter both team defenses seemed to settle in, and neither team was able to put any points on the board. Roswell had an extra opportunity to score when Shakur Jackson forced a fumble and Xavier McKinney recovered at the Hawk’s 40 yard line, but the team was unable to capitalize.
The fourth quarter began with a bang for the Hornets as quarterback James Whitaker broke loose and rushed 70 yards downfield for a touchdown to cut the Hawk’s lead to 3. The teams traded punts on their next series, then Hillgrove pushed the lead back to 10 on a passing touchdown play from the Hornet 12 yard line. That ten point lead was brief however, when Whitaker connected with Mechane Slade on a 75 yard strike on the very next play from scrimmage to bring the score to 31-28 with almost 6 minutes still left to play. On Hillgrove’s next possession, the Hornet defense seemed to stiffen and the Hawks found themselves in a third and long situation from their own 35 yard line. Unfortunately, Roswell didn’t have any answers for the next play, a short sideline pass that turned into a 65 yard touchdown for the Hawks. The Hornets had one more opportunity on offense, but was unable to covert on 4th and long and turned the ball over to the Hawks on downs to end the game.
With the loss, Roswell finishes the season at 8-4 under second year Head Coach John Ford. It is the Hornet’s first winning season and first playoff appearance since 2010.