On this chilly, wet night at The Grove, the visiting Wolfpack opened the scoring. Although Hillgrove looked bright on their opening drive, a disappointing special teams sequence including a delay of game and a shanked field goal gave the Wolfpack the momentum. On the resulting drive, the Wolfpack drove down the field and were held to a field goal by the Hawks to make the game 3-0, where it would stay throughout a drab first quarter.
If the first quarter was slow, however, the second showed much more promise. Hillgrove scored early on through a bruising run from running back James Mattocks, but their lead did not last long. North Paulding lost their starting quarterback early in the second half on a third down scramble for a first down. Hillgrove received the ball, and on their next drive after North Paulding punted, were forced to punt themselves. However, this punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown. While a collective groan went through the stadium, the players never panicked; they finished the half with 20 unanswered point, getting out to a 27-10 lead at the half.
The third quarter was more of the same, with Hillgrove continuing to dominate with stifling defense and a rejuvenated offense. Just minutes into the half, Hillgrove got the ball back and were able to kick a field goal. On the next drive, CB A. Keaton jumped the Wolfpack receiver’s route and was able to intercept the ball. The Hawks were able to score from this as well, QB Matthew McCravy connecting with his receiver for a long TD pass. The third quarter would see McCravy connect with one more of his receivers for another long touchdown, putting the game well out of reach at 44-10 at the end of the third quarter.
Understandably, the level of both team’s concentration and performance dropped during a fourth quarter that meant nothing in the grand scheme of the game. Aside from a TD on a short field produced by a strong punt return, offense was a virtual no-show in the last period. Despite a slow start, Hillgrove walked off comfortable winners in this Friday night matchup.
Hillgrove travels to Northcutt Stadium next week for a must-win regional matchup with Marietta. Come out and support the Hawks.