Hawks’ win sends team to state championship

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By Robert Driggers

Colleton Prep Football team punched its ticket to the state championship with an exciting 23-20 win over Beaufort Academy. The game was decided on field goals: one successful, the other one a miss. Warhawk kicker Connor Nettles kicked a 32-yard field goal with 2:50 left in the third quarter. Beaufort’s kicker missed a 35-yard field goal on the last play of the game, causing an exciting celebration on the Warhawks’ sideline.

The two teams combined for 40 points in the first half for a 20-20 tie. The second half saw a completely different game, as the Warhawks went to a ground control offense and kept the ball away from the Eagles.

Beaufort received the opening kick-off and marched 80-yards on 15 plays to score with 3:50 left in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.

The Warhawks abandoned its rushing attack to throw the ball against the Eagle defense. The Warhawks scored on its first possession on a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cole Davis to Walker Bryan. Nettles’ point after touchdown was good to make the score 7-7 with 2:41 left in the first quarter.

On the Warhawks’ next possession, they went to the passing game getting a 65-yard touchdown pass from Davis to Eli Rowe to make the score 13-7. The point after touchdown was no good, leaving the score 13-7.

The Eagles then marched 80-yards on a 12-play scoring drive to make the score 13-13 with 6:51 left before half-time. The Eagles forced a punt on the Warhawks’ next possession to take over on CPA’s 31-yard line after a bad punt. It took the Eagles just two plays to score a 30-yard touchdown pass with 4:25 left in the half to make the score 20-13.

The Warhawks then embarked on an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Davis threw his third touchdown pass of the half, hitting Walker Bryan on a six-yard completion for his second touchdown of the half to make the score 20-19 with .20 seconds left. Nettles point after touchdown was good to make the score 20-20 at half.

The second half was a complete opposite of the first half as the Warhawks returned to their rushing game. They received the second-half kick-off and controlled the ball for over nine minutes, eventually getting a field goal from Nettles.

Raleigh Obenaus stopped the next Eagle drive as he recovered a fumble with 1:05 left in the third quarter.

After an exchange of punts, Beaufort got the ball back for one final drive with 1:15 left in the game. The Eagles drove all the way to the Warhawks’ 27-yard line, setting up the final play of the game.

An excited Head Coach Greg Langdale said, “I thought tonight our players were just determined to win. Offensively, I thought we did a great job of following the game plan. We were able to put in a few wrinkles on offense this week and the guys executed it perfectly. Both of our two touchdown passes we put in this week. I thought in the second half, we were able to use our running game and control the clock. That first drive of the second half was huge. To use that much time off the clock and come away with points was what we needed.

“Defensively, we played a great second half. In the first half, they kind of punched us in the mouth a little with their running game; however, our defensive coaches made some adjustments at half-time and did it ever pay off. An unbelievable job by our defense to shut them out the second half,” said Langdale.

The Warhawk coach had a lot of praise for the large following of Warhawk fans. “What a great crowd we had on our sideline tonight. On that last Beaufort drive, that’s the loudest I have ever heard from the sideline. We were struggling to get our defensive calls in over the noise. That was awesome and that’s why we love the Warhawk family. I am so excited for all the players, the fans and the school. It’s always a good day to be a Warhawk but wins like tonight makes it special.”

The Warhawks had 264 yards of total offense compared to Beaufort’s 324.

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