Taylor Hawthorne insists he’s done it before, but anyone who watched the Edgewood Academy senior on a rainy Friday night came away knowing something special had taken place for the quarterback.
Hawthorne had 243 yards passing and 69 yards rushing with three touchdowns; one passing, one rushing and one receiving, to lead Edgewood to a 35-20 win over Wilcox Academy in the AISA Class AA semifinals Friday night.
“It means a lot. It’s my senior year, it’s my last year and I went out with a bang in the second round,” Hawthorne said. “Next week, hopefully I can go out with a bang and bring home another state championship.”
Edgewood (13-0) won its 44th straight game, tying the AISA record that Pickens Academy set from 1994-97. The Wildcats will play for their fourth state title in five years when they face Clarke Prep at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“It’s just an honor to be mentioned, my name and our football team’s name, with Pickens Academy and Lynn Wright and Josh and Jody Wright and Jonathan Wright,” Edgewood coach Bobby Carr said.
Wilcox took advantage of a fumbled punt return and took an early 7-0 lead. Hawthorne was on the receiving end of a 12-yard touchdown pass from Josh Crawford which made it 7-6 with 6:21 to go in the first quarter.
“They went up and I told my guys, keep your heads up, stay composed,” Hawthorne said. “I knew we were going to put points up on the board, that’s what we’re known for.”
The points came in a 22-7 second quarter to help Edgewood take a 28-14 lead at the break.
Hawthorne gave Edgewood a 14-7 lead on a 19-yard run with 6:52 to go in the second quarter. Wilcox (8-4) responded on the ensuing possession with a 1-yard scoring run by Drake Lauderdale.
Edgewood regained the lead when Hawthorne connected with Daniel Green for a 27-yard strike which made it 21-14 with 2:12 to go in the half. After a Wilcox fumble at its own 46, Edgewood took a 28-14 lead on a Crawford 1-yard run.
Crawford added a 14-yard scoring run with 3:48 to go which made it 35-14 and Wilcox scored in the final minute.
The record-tying win was never in doubt after halftime thanks to Hawthorne and Crawford.
“Hawthorne’s an amazing player, he’s one of the best athletes I’ve seen in my life,” Crawford said. “With both of us on the field together, we’re that dynamic duo. I really feel like with us two and the rest of our team, we’re really unstoppable.”
For Wilcox (8-4), Lee Seale had 24 carries for 216 yards and a touchdown. Alex Hutcheson had 17 carries for 90 yards. Lauderdale had 14 carries for 25 yards and two scores.