The last football Friday in Georgia began with some opportunistic Red Devils.
Hawkinsville capitalized on Irwin County’s mistakes – the most glaring among them: two bad snaps that led to Red Devil touchdowns.
The afternoon affair wasn’t all Hawkinsville. Irwin County scored first, igniting a title-thirsty crowd. The ensuing blocked extra point signaled that Hawkinsville wouldn’t go down easy.
Despite a couple turnovers of their own, Friday belonged to the Red Devils.
Warren Singletary scored twice, and Hawkinsville’s defense made sure Irwin County never scored again.
“I don’t think there’s anybody left in Hawkinsville today,” Red Devils head coach David Daniell said after the game. “It was great to see all that red up there [in the stands].”
The second game was an event planner’s dream. Two undefeated squads, one championship on the line.
Washington County’s high-powered offense struggled to find its footing against a feisty Calhoun defense.
Georgia’s Gatorade player of the year, A.J. Gray, had his moments early on, but the Yellow Jackets (who lost to Buford three times out of their last four in state championship games) out-lasted the Golden Hawks.
“I hurt for them,” Golden Hawks head coach Joel Ingram said. “When you don’t make plays, miss tackles, commit penalties, and turn the ball over, you’re not going to win. Especially in a state championship atmosphere.”
In the primetime show, a fiery first half had Mays thinking an Atlanta city school could win its first state title since 1973.
The Raiders followed a Jayllen Kendrick pick-six with 18 unanswered points, and shut down the Eagles’ dominant run game for the first 30 minutes.
An inspired second half performance saw Northside turn the tables on Mays, and score its own 18 unanswered.
With some trickery on a flea-flicker pass, Tobias Oliver hit Nate Greene for a score, and ran in for another. Northside’s defense kept Mays off the board, and won its first state title since 2007.
When asked what he told the team at halftime of an 18-7 deficit, head coach Kevin Kinsler replied, “If they wanted it, they better go get it.”
Until 2015, that’s a wrap on football Fridays in central Georgia.