In what could only be attributed to Week 11 fatigue, the Hillgrove Hawks lost to the Marietta Blue Devils in Northcutt Stadium on Friday night (11/1/19). The air was untypically dry and cold, which seemed to have an effect on the entire environment because everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.
The game started innocently enough: both teams had ineffective initial 3-and-out series. But just as Hillgrove was ready to punt the ball back to the Blue Devils to pin them deep, the long snap sailed over the punter’s head, signaling the type of night the Hawks had ahead of them. Rather than a long field backed up near their own end zone, the Blue Devils were set up on the Hillgrove 20 thanks to the snap miscue. Two plays later, QB Harrison Bailey competed a pass to WR Ricky White to give Marietta an early lead, 7-0.
Hillgrove was able to answer on their next possession as QB Matthew McCravy capped off a decisive statement-making drive to tie the game, 7-7. The rest of the half was a bit of a defensive struggle, with neither team looking particularly dominant. Early in the second quarter, Harrison Bailey found WR Taji Johnson in the end zone for a second TD pass, to re-take the lead at 14-7. Hillgrove wasn’t able to get in the end zone off an interception of a tipped Bailey pass, but was able to score a field goal to end the half with a respectable score of 14-10.
The halftime break seemed to make all the difference for Marietta, and would produce nothing but frustration for the Hawks. A scoreless third quarter for the Hawks gave more and more momentum to the home team. When Hillgrove finally found the end zone again in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late. The Blue Devils posted a 24-point second half, while the Hawks only managed to score another 7, making the final score 38-17.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Hawks, but head coach Phillip Ironside will certainly re-focus his team and have them ready for next week when they take on the North Cobb Warriors at home for their final regular season game.