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Hawks rally to down Pirates

Paul Wilson
Special to the Enquirer

Danville scored 13 points in the final quarter to defeat Winfield 19-18.

At halftime, it looked as if the visiting Pirates (1-2, 0-2) would win a seventh straight game over the Hawks (2-1, 1-1).

Winfield had dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half, rushing for 251 yards en route to an 18-6 halftime lead.  Winfield’s defense had also played well, holding the Hawks to just 99 yards total offense (seven yards rushing and 92 yards passing).

The Winfield punt team played a huge role in setting up the Pirates first two scores of the game, recovering a fumbled punt and then blocking a Danville punt to go ahead 12-0 in the first quarter.  Edward McCollum and Jesse Scarborough scored on runs of four and 23 yards respectively.  Kody Nixon scored Winfield’s final touchdown on a 20-yard run.  Danville’s lone touchdown of the half came on a 27-yard Justin Morgan to Alex Risner pass with 3:27 left in the opening period.

The Hawks dominated the third quarter but had nothing to show for it, as Danville drove to the Winfield 7 and 13, but a sack on fourth down and an interception kept the Hawks out of the end zone.

The quarter ended with Danville threatening once again with a first and goal at the Pirate 7.  The Hawks would not be denied this time as senior RB/LB Justin Hannah (19 carries for 109 yards) scored on a seven-yard run on the opening play of the final period.  Brock Garrison added the PAT and with 11:55 left in the game, Danville had cut the Winfield lead to five at 18-13.

The Hawks would take the lead on their next drive, going 60 yards in nine plays with Hannah getting his second touchdown of the game on an eight-yard run.  The two-point try failed, giving Danville a 19-18 lead with 5:35 left in the game.

The key play in the drive was a fourth-and-two pass from Morgan to Dallas McAbee.  The play gained 18 yards and gave Danville a 1st down at the Winfield 23.  Three plays later, Hannah scored.

A long kick return gave Winfield the ball near midfield, and following a 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Hawks, the Pirates had the ball at the Danville 43.  On first down, junior DE Slater Robinson led a covey of Hawks in bringing McCollum down for a loss of two.  Two runs by Winfield set up a fourth-and-one at the Hawk 34.  McCollum broke through the line, gaining 18 yards, but fumbled as he was tackled. D.J. Batts recovered the fumble to give Danville the ball and end the Pirate threat.

Winfield would have one more opportunity but were unable to get close and the Hawks would go on to get their first region win of the season.

Hawks will hit the road for the first time Friday night as they travel to Double Springs to play Winston County (2-1, 2-0).  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.