HOMERVILLE — In the second half, Hawkinsville executed their offense to perfection, converted on several third downs and draining the clock on their way to advancing to face Marion County next Friday night.
Clinch will wonder what the final outcome would have been if they would have played mistake-free football; however, the Panthers lost the turnover battle 3-0, with all of their turnovers coming courtesy of bad snaps. Clinch also had several costly holding penalties and a personal foul that pushed the Panthers deep into their own territory and killed a drive.
The Panthers ended the game with 214 total yards of offense, 190 of which came on the ground. Seniors Billy Kelsaw and James Core contributed 47 and 24 rushing yards, respectively, in the losing effort.
Hawkinsville only attempted one pass all night, a completion in the first half, as the Red Devils simply did not need to throw the ball. Offensively, the Red Devils line dominated the line of scrimmage, making it easy for Burden and company to churn out large chunks of yardage on the ground. Hawkinsville ended the game with 302 total yards, with all but Sloan’s 24-yard completion to Royce Owens coming on the ground.
In a battle of two teams who play virtually the same brand of football, penalties and turnovers are likely to be the difference and Friday night’s game between the Panthers and Red Devils was no different. Clinch gathered more penalty yards, more turnovers, and simply more mental errors in their losing effort.
As a result, Hawkinsville will advance to the state Final Four next Friday night.