C-P finds the going tough in 16-2A

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 14, 2007 - COMO - Como-Pickton first-year head coach Paul Tullis found out just how tough the District 16-2A season will be Friday night following a 35-20 loss to the Hawkins Hawks at Ron Heflin Field.

"I think the main thing was we came out and it was an offensive battle," the coach said. "We couldn't stop their offense and their defense never really stopped our offense. We went down through the plays and they probably made 3-or-4 plays and we probably didn't make 3-or-4 plays and I think that made the difference."

The Eagles are now 3-3 overall and 0-1 in district and will travel to Quitman next Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs (5-1 overall, 1-0 in district) defeated Alba-Golden, 35-18, in Alba Friday night.

The Hawks (2-4, 1-0) used a heavy dose of sophomore tailback Corey Stevenson as he rushed for 171 yards on 26 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.

With the two teams tied at 14-14 at the intermission, Hawkins opened up the third quarter with a six-play drive as Stevenson went around the left side of the line and scampered 24 yards to paydirt for the 21-14 lead.

The Eagles then scored on their next possession with a 14-play, 72-yard drive that took 6:57 off of the clock capped by a quarterback sneak by Noe Tellez. On the PAT, Tellez's kick went wide right as Hawkins held a 21-20 lead with 2:03 remaining in the quarter.

During the drive, the Eagles had 13 running plays to only one pass as the completion went to tight end Keith Anderson, who found a hole in the middle of the Hawkins defense for 22 yards.

Earlier in the contest, Hawkins scored on its first possession of the game as quarterback Jorden Stephens went in from 1-yard out for the early 7-0 lead.

The Hawkins defense held CPHS to three-and-outs on their first two possessions until the Eagles put together an impressive drive on their next possession.

The Eagles put together 10 straight running plays and converted a fourth-and-2 situation as Spencer Boyd rushed for five yards for the first down. Following the play, Hawkins was called for a five-yard facemask penalty that put the ball on the Hawkins 16-yard line.

Three plays later, sophomore James Carter tied the game at 7-7 with a 9-yard run down the right sideline. Tellez booted his first of two PATs good with 6:47 remaining in the second quarter.

Carter finished the game with 14 carries for 65 yards and one touchdown after coming back from a turf toe injury last week against Blue Ridge. Tullis said Carter fought hard through the pain all night long.

"There was times when he came off that his toe was hurting pretty good," the coach said. "We had an offense set up with Mitch running the option stuff in the first half, but I thought the offensive line drove them pretty good in the first half and James ran hard."

Hawkins wasted no time on its next possession to take a 14-7 lead as Stephens found Dion Carter for a 14-yard touchdown reception with 3:49 remaining in the half. Michael Macaluso booted his second of five PATs good.

With time running out in the first half, Tellez tied the score at 14-14 with a quarterback sneak that capped off a nine-play, 60-yard drive after the Eagle defense held Hawkins on downs.

After taking the 21-20 lead, the Hawks put the nail in the coffin with 14 unanswered points as Stephens had two touchdown runs of 3 yards respectively for the 35-20 finale.

On the Eagles final drive of the game, the offense converted a fourth-and-14 opportunity with a 37-yard completion from Mitch Lowe to Ryan Carpenter on an option play, but the Eagles were held on downs at the Hawkins' 2-yard line. Earlier in that drive, Carpenter caught a 12-yard pass from Tellez and then did the hook-and-ladder play with a pitch to Corey Gibson for a 2-yard gain.

"We had that (the option play) and we knew that we would be able to run the option on them because they play so much man coverage," Tullis said. "We ran the option really good in the first half and we didn't feel like throwing it yet until we got into that desperate situation late.

"If our receiver had a little more space inbounds on the hook-and-ladder, maybe he could have scored up the sideline. We got a little too wide on the stop before he could pitch it back there."

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