Special to the Times
The Cook County Hornets beat the Early County Bobcats 29-7 Friday night to force a three-way playoff game on Monday.
The Hornets defense did a great job not allowing the Bobcats to score in the first half despite the fact that the Bobcats seemed to always get the ball in great field position.
The first score of the game came on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Connor Hilliard to receiver Tray Jackson. Jackson caught the ball on the 33-yard line and broke an open field tackle to take it the rest of the distance.
Early County would be able to move the chains a couple of times a drive, but just could not get their offense clicking on all cylinders.
After being forced to punt on a fourth and 15, the Hornets got the ball back on their own 35 yard line with just under two minutes remaining in the half.
Even with time against the Hornets, they would not let this stop them from putting together a scoring drive.
The Hornets would be in good field position after a couple good runs by Grant Wilson. This set up a 24 yard touchdown pass to Maysoe Wiley Jr. with 11 seconds left in the half. This was Hilliard’s second touchdown pass of the night.
Even with the entire first half going against them, the Bobcats refused to give up.
They intercepted Hilliard’s pass on the Hornet’s opening drive of the second half. The Bobcats were not able to convert this turnover into points.
Unfortunately for Cook they would on the next turnover.
Jalen Bennett fumbled on the Hornet’s next possession after the interception.
This was recovered by the Bobcats. Tyrek Lyles would take it 29-yards for a touchdown on the very next play. This made the score 14-7 with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
The Hornets were struggling on offense the entire second half up until this point. They were able to move the ball on the ground the rest of the game thanks to Jay Smith. Smith was able to run for 62 yards on seven carries in the second half.
Cook County could not be stopped after Early County scored their lone touchdown. Spencer Joiner ran in a two-yard touchdown and a six-yard touchdown in the second half. If the first score by Joiner did not put this game away, the second one sure did.
Connor Hilliard had a pretty good night throwing twelve completions out of 20 passing attempts, two touchdowns, and an interception. He has great ability to throw down field; he just needs to work on consistency in his accuracy. This game could have ran away from the Bobcats much earlier had Hilliard not over thrown his receiver’s on a couple of big plays that both could have gone for touchdowns.
Cook, Early, and Fitzgerald will all battle for two playoff spots in Sylvester, Ga. on Monday night.