’Hawks dis­patch Wolves 48-32

Team re­mains un­de­feated with a record of 5-0

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - SPORTS - JOHN MCGEE

The Black­hawks struck fast and early to as­sume con­trol in a 1-4A district game in Lincoln last week, then cleared their bench in coast­ing to a 48-32 vic­tory.

“We are not as good as we need to be,” head coach Stephen Neal said, “and we are not as good as we are go­ing to be be. How­ever, I am pleased with the team’s ef­forts and we are get­ting bet­ter.”

Se­niors Jakota Sains­bury, Drew Winn, Hay­den Holt­grewe and Jor­dan Witcher again sparked the ’Hawk of­fense with Tris­ten Brewer lead­ing the de­fense.

Sains­bury com­pleted 11 of 17 passes for 241 yards and four touch­downs. Holt­grewe had the most re­ceiv­ing yards with 167 that led to three touch­downs with Witcher com­ing up with the most catches with six and also also scored a touch­down.

Winn rushed for 270 yards on just 15 car­ries, a whop­ping 18 yards per carry av­er­age. The speedy tail­back also scored three times. Brewer recorded a team high 12 tack­les with Gavin War­den and Jack­son Till­man hav­ing the sec­ond most with nine stops each.

Pea Ridge had a re­cur­rence of the penalty buga­boo, with ref­er­ees toss­ing flags at the ’Hawks on nine oc­ca­sions. The first play of the game drew a flag, wip­ing out a 9-yard gain by Winn on the game’s first play. The penalty be­came in­con­se­quen­tial when Sains­bury dropped a pass into Holt­grewe’s hands on the next play as the re­ceiver sped down field, rac­ing un­touched into the end zone with barely 44 sec­onds gone in the game. Evan Green’s good PAT kick put the ’Hawks on top 7-0 with 11:15 show­ing.

Penal­ties be­came a great aid to Lincoln af­ter a flag was dropped fol­low­ing a Pea Ridge stop of Lincoln on a third down play. The penalty gave the Wolves a first down, and another penalty four plays later gave the hosts a first down on the ’Hawk 19. A fourth and 7 gam­ble by Lincoln just barely earned an ad­di­tional first down, with the Wolves then scor­ing in three plays. Witcher shot through to block the kick with 4:59 show­ing to pre­serve the ’Hawk lead at 7-6.

Winn opened the next se­ries with an 8-yard run, and af­ter a short pass to Witcher, Winn ac­cel­er­ated through and by Wolf de­fend­ers to bolt 61 yards to the end zone. Winn’s score put the ’Hawks up 13-6 with 4:00 left in the first.

The Wolves’ next se­ries wasn’t mov­ing well un­til the yel­low flags came out and gave Lincoln pos­ses­sion on the ’Hawk 41. Four runs and a 9-yard pass put the hosts on the ’Hawk 2 as the quar­ter ex­pired. The first play of the sec­ond quar­ter saw the Lincoln quar­ter­back sneak it in for the score. The good kick knot­ted the score at 1313 with 11:54 show­ing in the half.

Mis­takes con­tin­ued to plague the ’Hawks as a fum­bled kick­off gave the ball back to Lincoln fol­low­ing their score. How­ever, the de­fense rose up to limit the Wolves to just a 3-yard carry and two in­com­plete passes to force a punt. The punt was a beauty, pin­ning the ’Hawks all the way back to their own 10. Lincoln’s good for­tune turned sour when Winn, burst off tackle and sprinted 90 yards down field to run by the Wolf de­fense and re­take the lead for Pea Ridge. Green’s kick was true, mov­ing the score to 20-13 with 10:50 left.

Lincoln then moved the ball 24 yards on two plays to near mid­field be­fore the ’Hawk’s Bailee Ran­dolph de­railed the Wolf drive with a fum­ble re­cov­ery on the Lincoln 43. Sains­bury threw half the dis­tance to the goal on a 21-yarder to Holt­grewe, then went the rest of the way on a 23-yard toss to Witcher who raced across the goal line with 8:46 left in the half. Green booted the ex­tra point for a 27-13 lead.

The ’Hawk de­fense held on the next se­ries, forc­ing a punt back to the ’Hawks on their own 37. Winn broke off a 25-yard gainer only to see most of it called back due to a penalty. Two plays later saw the Wolves come up with an in­ter­cep­tion with a penalty tacked on to give Lincoln pos­ses­sion on the ’Hawk 24. A 7-yard run was fol­lowed by a 17-yard pass to score Lincoln’s third touch­down to shave the lead to 27-20.

Af­ter start­ing their next drive on their own 35, Winn would get them into Wolf ter­ri­tory on runs of 14 and 7. From there, Sains­bury con­nected with Holt­grewe on a 44-yard scor­ing bomb. With 3:55 left in the first half, Green’s suc­cess­ful kick boosted the ’Hawk ad­van­tage to 34-20.

The first half fire­works weren’t over with Gannon Con­rad burst­ing through the Lincoln of­fen­sive line to re­cover a fum­ble on the Wolf 44. Winn bat­tered their de­fen­sive line with runs of 4, 2, 7 and 3 for pos­ses­sion on the Lincoln 28. Sains­bury then lofted another pass Holt­grewe’s way and the wide re­ceiver took it in for the team’s sixth score. Green again split the up­rights, and Pea Ridge went to the locker room with a solid 41-20 lead.

The ’Hawk de­fend­ers came out of in­ter­mis­sion ready to play, al­low­ing the hosts but a sin­gle yard on their first three plays. The ref­eree’s whis­tle took away the im­pend­ing punt and gave the Wolves new life with a penalty against the ’Hawks. The ’Hawk de­fense stiff­ened fur­ther, how­ever, with a quar­ter­back sack by Ma­zon Har­ris with an as­sist by Till­man forc­ing a punt to Pea Ridge.

Three big plays later and the ’Hawks as­sumed a near in­sur­mount­able 48-20 lead. Winn ripped off a 22-yard dash, with a Sains­bury to Witcher pass net­ting 11 more yards. Winn fin­ished the drive with his fi­nal big carry of the

even­ing, an elec­tric 37-yard jaunt to the end zone. Green was again good on the PAT and the ’Hawks led 48-20 with 7:59 left in the third quar­ter.

Till­man stopped a Lincoln ball car­rier short of the line of scrim­mage on the first play fol­low­ing the kick­off, with Blake Bevill hang­ing a 5-yard loss on a Lincoln run­ning back two plays later. How­ever, fac­ing a third and 16 from their own 23, the Wolves found an open re­ceiver who took a pass and ran it in to in­ter­rupt the ’Hawks’ skein of 21 straight points. The ’Hawks blocked the kick to leave the score at 48-26 with 5:33 left in the third quar­ter.

The ’Hawk bench was fully in­volved for the rest of the game. and the ’Hawks used Trevor Henry to rush four times for 22 yards. Two passes to Witcher net­ted 12 yards. A penalty pushed the ’Hawks back to the Lincoln 17 from the 12, and a 6-yard pass to Holt­grewe couldn’t quite avoid the fourth down. The re­sult­ing field goal at­tempt went just wide left in the fi­nal minute of the third pe­riod,

The ’Hawks held the Wolves on downs early in the fi­nal quar­ter, with Henry sub­se­quently run­ning twice for 30 to­tal yards with a 12-yarder from Tate Busey to Witcher push­ing into Wolf ter­ri­tory at the 38. A short pass, a rush­ing loss fol­lowed by an in­com­plete pass led to the only punt of the game from Pea Ridge, how­ever.

Fac­ing a field of sub­sti­tutes, the Wolves fi­nally got a sus­tained drive go­ing in the game’s fi­nal mo­ments, trav­el­ing 97 yards in 10 plays to score the game’s last touch­down. Aided by two penal­ties against the ’Hawks, the Wolves fi­nally scored on a 9-yard run with 2:42 left in the game to set the fi­nal mar­gin at 48-32.

“Lincoln made a lot of good plays,” coach Neal said. “They did a lot of good things. We had a lot of play­ers con­trib­ute and we will con­tinue to get bet­ter.”

This week will be the ’Hawks’ sternest test of the con­fer­ence sched­ule to date as they host the Gravette Li­ons. The ’Hawks haven’t lost a game at Gravette in seven years, but haven’t won a game on Pea Ridge soil since be­fore 2000. Gravette will come ready to play, never re­ally hav­ing a bad team as they have been peren­nial con­tenders for district honors.

Fol­low­ing the home date with Gravette, the ’Hawks will then turn their at­ten­tion to the the de­fend­ing con­fer­ence cham­pion Prairie Grove on Oct. 13. Both these home games will go along way to de­ci­pher­ing how the 2017 seed­ings from the 1-4A may shake out.

Game time Fri­day will be 7 p.m.

Pho­to­graphs cour­tesy of Stephanie Harwell

Black­hawk line­men Trevor Henry (No. 15) and Tristin Brewer (No. 25) work to con­tain the Wolf of­fense Fri­day night. Brewer was the lead­ing force for the de­fense.

Black­hawks re­joice over a re­cov­ered ball Fri­day night.

Black­hawk se­nior Jor­dan Witcher had the most catches with six and scored a touch­down in Fri­day night’s bat­tle with the Lincoln Wolves.

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