Hawk foot­ball

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN MCGEE Spe­cial to The TIMES

CON­WAY — A few mis­takes hurt but a lot of big plays made up for it as Pea Ridge ram­bled over Ham­burg 50-30 to win the Hooten’s Clas­sic Tro­phy at the Univer­sity of Cen­tral Arkansas in Con­way Mon­day night.

Black­hawk Se­nior Drew Winn scored four touch­downs, rush­ing for 170 yards on 25 car­ries to lead the squad. Se­nior quar­ter­back Jakota Sains­bury had a good night un­der cen­ter, com­plet­ing 14 of 19 passes for 222 yards and three touch­downs.

The ’Hawks’ dan­ger­ous se­nior wide re­ceivers Hay­den Holt­grewe and Jor­dan Witcher made sen­sa­tional plays. The duo ac­counted for all the pass­ing yards with Witcher catch­ing four for 6 yards and one score with Holt­grewe grab­bing eight passes for 137 yards and two TDs.

Ham­burg got the ball first to start the game but the ’Hawk de­fend­ers wouldn’t let them across mid­field. On the ’Hawks’ first se­ries, runs of 9 and 15 by Winn and passes from Sains­bury to Witcher for 15 yards along with an 8-yard toss to Holt­grewe gained the ’Hawks a first down on the Lion 16. A fum­ble two plays later de­railed the drive, how­ever.

It was the de­fense keep­ing the lid on Ham­burg that gave the ball back to Pea Ridge four plays later near mid­field. This then led to the ’Hawks’ first dent­ing of the score­board in 2017.

The ’Hawks first scor­ing drive be­gan when Winn ran for 6 yards off tackle on first down to the Ham­burg 46. They couldn’t get any­thing go­ing, though, and were forced to punt. Sains­bury’s punt sailed to the Lion 10 and when the Ham­burg re­turn man couldn’t han­dle the ball in traf­fic, the pigskin spurted loose with an alert Quin­ten Miller cov­er­ing the ball for the ’Hawks on the Lion 26.

The new set of downs in­spired the ’Hawks as they nearly scored on sec­ond down when Sains­bury threaded a pass to Witcher who caught it in traf­fic for 18 yards to the Lion 9. Three runs by Winn and the Black­hawks drew first blood. The se­nior tail­back rolled into the end zone on a 8-yard jaunt with 3:12 show­ing in the first quar­ter. Evan Green booted the PAT to put the ’Hawks up 7-0.

The lead didn’t stand up long as the Li­ons Shan­non Bren­nen took the kick­off at the 2-yard line and ran it back all the way to score. Prim­i­tivo Le­mus con­verted the kick and the teams were knot­ted up at 7-all with 2:58 left.

The ’Hawks couldn’t move the ball af­ter a 10-yard dash by Winn got an ini­tial first down. The Li­ons couldn’t do much ei­ther, net­ting 4 yards on two plays to punt the ball back to Pea Ridge to start the sec­ond pe­riod. Holt­grewe’s 29-yard re­turn had the ’Hawks knock­ing on the door at the Lion 22.

Winn opened the pos­ses­sion with a 9-yarder, with Sains­bury keep­ing up the mid­dle on the next play for a first down to the Ham­burg 6. Af­ter a loss on a play, Winn swept left and shot into the end zone for an 8-yard scor­ing jaunt. Green’s sec­ond ac­cu­rate PAT put the ’Hawks up 14-7.

The turning mo­men­tum spurred the Li­ons to drive 31 yards in five plays to cross mid­field at the 49. A fourth down gam­ble by Ham­burg might have worked if the ’Hawks’ Robby Pick­thal hadn’t ripped the ball away. The turnover negated what would have been a first down.

It didn’t take the ’Hawks long to score fol­low­ing the take away. Sains­bury flipped a 6-yarder to Holt­grewe, then threw a bomb to a wide open Witcher, who took it all along on the 30, then ram­bled in for the score, a 49-yard scor­ing strike. Green split the up­rights and Pea Ridge led their foe 21-7 with 7:22 left in the half.

The Li­ons’ trou­ble run­ning on the ’Hawk de­fense forced them to an air at­tack, throw­ing nine of 12 plays to move down to the ’Hawk 19. Fac­ing a fourth and 7 on the 19, the Li­ons opted to set­tle for a field goal, with Le­mus drilling it from 36 yards out to cut the deficit to 21-10.

Both teams stalled out on their next pos­ses­sions with the ’Hawks get­ting the last pos­ses­sion. How­ever, a 29-yard punt was fol­lowed by a 24-yard re­turn by Holt­grewe to give the ’Hawks great field pos­ses­sion on the Lion 25 with 7 sec­onds left in the half. A light­ning pass to Holt­grewe net­ted 11 yards to the Lion 14 where the se­nior re­ceiver called first down with 2 sec­onds left. Evan Green came on to try a 32-yard field goal, and he kicked it through as time ex­pired send­ing the ’Hawks into in­ter­mis­sion with a 24-10 lead.

The ’Hawks had the ball to start the sec­ond half, and they made great use of it, driv­ing 61 yards in six plays to score again. Runs by Winn, Pick­thal and se­nior Chase Dun­can got the ball to the Lion 42. On sec­ond down, Sains­bury hit Holt­grewe on the left side­lines and the wide re­ceiver dodged tack­les, then did a fly­ing leap over one would-be tack­ler to add 5 more yards onto the run which gave the ’Hawks a first down on the Ham­burg 16. The very next play saw Holt­grewe slid­ing into the end zone to haul in a low pass. The score came with 10:12 left in the third with Greens boot push­ing the lead out to 31-10.

Ranked No. 10 in the 4A state, Ham­burg re­fused to go down without a fight, re­ly­ing on passes from Kelley to John­son and For­rest to gain 24 yards to their 38. The next play was con­tro­ver­sial when a long pass to the ’Hawk 30 was about to be in­ter­cepted by a de­fen­sive back was pushed down from be­hind al­low­ing the re­ceiver to catch the ball un­con­tested, run­ning it down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later For­rest bulled it into the end zone for the score.

The kick was good, shrink­ing the lead to 31-17 with 7:19 left in the third.

The ’Hawks stum­bled on their next se­ries, los­ing 6 yards in three plays. A fired up Lion de­fense then broke through to par­tially block the ’Hawks’ fourth down punt, get­ting the ball back on the Lion 48. A 28-yard pass from Kelley to For­rest gained 22, with a Kelley keeper gain­ing 11 more to the ’Hawk 19. Bren­non’s 5-yard run nearly went all the way but got the Li­ons to the 14. For­rest then ran left and sneaked into the end zone with 4:42 left in the third. How­ever, the run of good for­tune ended when they failed in their PAT at­tempt to leave the score at 31-23.

Se­nior tail­back Winn took over the game at this point, mak­ing light­ning runs for 5, 11, 11, 9, then fi­nally for 25 to dash into the end zone for the third time, blunt­ing Ham­burg’s come­back at­tempt. With 3:13 on the clock in the third quar­ter, Green’s good PAT gave Pea Ridge a more com­fort­able 38-23.

This time, it was the ’Hawks time to fire up their de­fense, and it was 3 and out for the Lion of­fense. The ’Hawks’ next pos­ses­sion was marred by two penal­ties for 20 yards, forc­ing a punt back to Ham­burg. The de­fense for Pea Ridge was still fired up, al­low­ing no yards with Ham­burg punt­ing at the end of the third quar­ter fac­ing

a fourth and 20.

Start­ing out from the Ham­burg 46, Winn started the pos­ses­sion bash­ing the line for 3 and 6 yards. Pick­thal picked up the first down, pun­ish­ing Lion de­fend­ers for 7 yards to the Ham­burg 30. Winn then broke right and out­ran the de­fend­ers to pay dirt on the next play.

Winn’s fourth score came close to putting the game out of reach as Pea Ridge led 44-23 with 10:19 left in the game.

The ’Hawks hung a 5-yard loss on sec­ond down on the Li­ons, with a sub­se­quent penalty push­ing Ham­burg back to their own 12. The punt, as hap­pened so many times this game, was re­turned by Holt­grewe. His 23-yard re­turn on a 36-yard punt got the ’Hawks a first down on the Lion 25. The very next play saw Sains­bury ex­e­cute a per­fectly thrown lead pass to Holt­grewe who took it in stride and out­ran the de­fender to the end zone. Holt­grewe’s sec­ond score helped the ’Hawks hit the half cen­tury mark, bal­loon­ing the lead to 50-23 with 9:07 left, vir­tu­ally ic­ing the game.

With the ’Hawks now lib­er­ally sub­sti­tut­ing play­ers, the Li­ons man­aged to gen­er­ate a sus­tained scor­ing drive. They moved 80 yards in 10 plays to score on a Kelley to For­rest pass. How­ever, the drive took nearly half of the re­main­ing min­utes and though the lead was re­duced to 50-30, there was just 5:03 left in the game.

Pea Ridge then kept the ball on the ground, chew­ing up the clock. Chase Dun­can ran five times for 37 yards be­fore the ’Hawks turned the ball back to Ham­burg on the Lion 25. The Li­ons left their starters in but could not move into Pea Ridge ter­ri­tory be­fore the fi­nal buzzer.

The game turned on the abil­ity of the ’Hawks to hang in there in the face of ad­ver­sity, and a big part of their edge was the ’Hawks’ su­pe­rior punt­ing abil­ity. Punter Sains­bury out kicked his coun­ter­part by more than a dozen yards on av­er­age with one of his boots trav­el­ing 54 yards at a time when the Li­ons were try­ing to gen­er­ate some mo­men­tum.

The ’Hawks don’t have much time to think about their vic­tory with a re­match with Booneville loom­ing this Fri­day. The ’Hawks han­dled the Bearcats last year 40-21 but the boys from south of the river have im­proved greatly since that ini­tial game last year and are hop­ing for pay­back. The game, at Booneville, will be a bat­tle.

The game with Ham­burg was also a re­match, af­ter the ’Hawks ended the Li­ons sea­son with a 36-24 win last year. Ham­burg has now lost their last two games in a row to Pea Ridge. As the Li­ons have won nine games ev­ery year for the past three years, they will be a force to be reck­oned with and the ’Hawks may even see them again come this Novem­ber.

Pho­to­graphs cour­tesy of Stephanie Har­well

Se­nior Black­hawk Hay­den Holt­grewe (No. 23) hur­dled over a Ham­burg Lion de­fender as he raced down the side­lines Mon­day night to­wards the end zone. In the sec­ond half, on sec­ond down, Holt­grewe dodged tack­les, then did a fly­ing leap over one would-be...

TIMES pho­to­graph by An­nette Beard

Black­hawk golfer Har­ri­son Cato, a ju­nior, pre­pared to swing on the 7th hole at Big Sugar dur­ing a golf match be­tween Pea Ridge and Huntsville.

Pho­to­graph sub­mit­ted

Lady Black­hawk Kate­lyn Swope pre­pares to swing as she and lady golfers from Huntsville com­pete Mon­day at Big Sugar Golf Course.

Pho­to­graphs cour­tesy of Stephanie Har­well

Black­hawk de­fend­ers (above) Tristin Brewer (No. 25), Car­son Rhine (No. 10) and Justin Koon (No. 16) pre­vent the Lion ball car­rier from pro­ced­ing down­field. Black­hawk se­nior Drew Winn (photo at left) scored four touch­downs, rush­ing for 170 yards on 25...

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