TITUSVILLE – Javian Hawkins doesn’t appear to be big enough to break many tackles yet, but when the Astronaut 10th-grader sprinted past the Titusville High secondary on Friday night at Storey-Taylor Stadium, it was apparent he wasn’t going to be caught.
Speed will do for now, as it did on the first War Eagles play from scrimmage, a 60-yard Hawkins touchdown run that set the tone. Less than three hours later, homestanding Astronaut had a 40-0 win, cutting the Terriers win streak in the cross-town rivalry short at a year.
“We’ve been telling the kids ever since last year, they got their one (in a row),” War Eagles coach Randy Hallock said. “We ain’t gonna let them have two.”
The Terriers were never in the game. Not even when they were moving the ball.
Trailing 14-0 late in the first period but driving past midfield, Jevell Taylor played centerfield on a Titusville pass play, making the first of five interceptions by the Astronaut defense. Though he didn’t score, giving the War Eagles possession at their own 30, it was the last offensive threat by the visitors until the final seconds.
“I had to go get it,” Taylor said. “There was so much intensity this week. All gas, no brakes. We had great practices, and that’s how we played.”
Taylor scored the game’s second touchdown, running in from the 2. The third went to Nathan Brown, with the first of his two interceptions. He followed the eyes of Titusville quarterback Yusuf DeReese and stepped where the pass went. The intended receiver did not, continuing to streak down the visitor sideline.
“I guess it was just a miscommunication,” Brown said. “I saw an opportunity. I had a feeling they were coming to me.”
Brown scored from the 38.
Astronaut took a 31-13 lead in the battle for the Hudson Trophy. A year ago, Titusville broke a seven-year War Eagles streak, but not even that matched the 14 in a row won by Astronaut from 1992 through 2005.
At one point on Friday, Titusville had a streak of eight consecutive passes without one hitting the ground, but four went to players in home jerseys.
Leron Berry had the fourth interception for Astronaut. Mac Massengill, who later added a fumble recovery, made interception No. 5, and the Astronaut rushing defense held Titusville to 76 yards before backup Dontavious Marcus broke free for a 60-yard run in the final seconds. That put the ball at the War Eagles 2, but time ran out before the Terriers could run another play.
”The defense was lights out tonight,” Hallock said. “We’re so excited about the way we played. Don’t get me wrong, they made mistakes, but the defense was lights out.”
An Astronaut tradition, the special teams was key, too. The War Eagles recovered a muffed punt, and on a fake field goal attempt, Cory Sides caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Brad Canarie. Tristan Schultheis kicked field goals of 24 and 47 yards.
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Astronaut 40, Titusville 0
Titusville 0 0 0 0 — 0
Astronaut 14 10 6 10 — 40
HOW THEY SCORED
A — Javian Hawkins 60 run (Tristan Schultheis kick), 9:38
A — Jevell Taylor 2 run (Schultheis kick), 6:37
A — Nathan Brown 38 interception return (Schultheis kick), 9:07
A — Schultheis 24 FG, 0:00
A — Cory Sides 4 pass from Brad Canarie (pass failed), 6:41
A — Schultheis 47 FG, 5:09
A — Tria-Maria Charles 9 run (Sammy Kline kick), 2:49
Rushing: T — Yusuf DeReese 11-61, Jaleel Davis 13-19, Dontavious Marcus 2-67; Chace Gadapee 1-(-11); A — Hawkins 13-74, Leron Berry 3-8, Jevell Taylor 37, Charles 3-1, Jordan Taylor 1-6. Passing: DeReese — 7-17-5 47, Gadapee 2-4-0 18; A — Canarie 8-15-1 70. Receiving: T — Javion Turner 5-34, Rashean Lynn 3-24, Davis 1-7; A — Hawkins 2-22, Cameron Ockerman 2-1, Sides 1-8, Jordan Taylor 1-20.