Defense catapults Shaw to North Half Title game
by Donell Maxie
Nov 18, 2012 | 2320 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Coffeeville's Ronald King gets introduced to the Hawks’ defense in a hard way as Lekia McRoy tackles him with Ledavious Rice (2) and Demerrius Williams (76) all hustling to help him out on the play. The Hawks’ defense was relentless all night long as they held the Pirates offense in check.
Coffeeville's Ronald King gets introduced to the Hawks’ defense in a hard way as Lekia McRoy tackles him with Ledavious Rice (2) and Demerrius Williams (76) all hustling to help him out on the play. The Hawks’ defense was relentless all night long as they held the Pirates offense in check.
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OFFEEVILLE — Football is the ultimate team game and on Friday the Shaw Hawks proved that as they survived a slow start on offense to come away with a 28-6 victory over the Coffeeville Pirates here in the second round of the 1A State Playoffs.

Shaw improved to 10-2 while Coffeeville fell to 7-7 to finish the season.

Shaw's offense came out in the first quarter as low as four flat tires, but it was the Hawks' defense that breathed air into those tires to get the team rolling as it carried the team to start the game.

"Our defense played a great football game and did what they needed to do to keep Coffeeville at bay until we got our stuff together on offense," said Hawks head coach Kendrick Smith.

Smith added, "One reason I think we came out so flat was that we started the game with a freshman quarterback because we didn't want to play Andre (Pruitt) because he had sat out all week at practice because of an injury.

“When we had to put Dre (Pruitt) in the game he was rusty, but eventually everything calmed down and we started to move the ball."

Before the kickoff started things got off on the wrong foot as coaches were informed that the game clock was not operational, and the time would have to be kept on the field by the officials.

That proved to be a bad omen for the Hawks because right out the of gate, Coffeeville received the kickoff and brought the ball out to the 41-yard line. The Hawks’ defense, however, held up and forced the Pirates to punt.

On Shaw's first possession, Christopher Harthone fumbled, but recovered the ball. The drive did not muster any more yards, and Shaw had to punt.

On the punt, the Pirates broke through the protection and got a hand on the ball, which resulted in a short punt for the Hawks.

Once again, the Hawks’ defense held serve and the Pirates punted again. On the punt, Shaw's Keveon Shepherd muffed the ball and Coffeeville recovered deep in Hawks territory.

The Hawks’ defense was on its game and held the Pirates to a 37-yard field goal try that fell just inches short of the goal post.

In the second quarter, things continued to look bad for the Hawks as Coffeeville's Demarcus Neal intercepted Pruitt's pass. That good news for the Pirates lasted for one play, because on their first possession Shaw's Jasprell Dillard forced a fumble and recovered it to give the ball back to the Hawks’ offense.

Business started to pick up for the Hawks after that play as Shaw broke the stalemate when Lekia McCoy scampered for an 83-yard touchdown run with about 6:30 remaining in the second quarter. Shaw missed the point after try, but led 6-0.

Following another punt from Coffeeville, Shaw added more points as Pruitt, who had not completed a pass at this point in the game, connected with Damon Redding for a 47-yard touchdown pass. Harthone added the 2-point conversion for a 14-0 Hawks lead, which would remain the score going into the locker room at halftime.

In the third quarter, things looked up with the score clock back operational and the Hawks in their groove on both sides of the ball.

The third quarter proved to be a defensive battle though with Shaw being the only team to come close to getting points on a 35-yard field goal attempt that missed-left of the goal post.

In the fourth quarter, Shaw's Justin King picked things up as he rumbled his way to a 35-yard touchdown run, carrying a Coffeeville defender with him on the ride. Redding added the 2-point conversion for a 22-0 Hawks lead with 7:29 left in the game.

The Pirates managed to get on the scoreboard on the next drive as Antavius Moody scored from six yards out with 4:04 remaining in the fourth. The 2-point conversion failed for a 22-6 ball game.

The Hawks responded with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Pruitt to Keveon Shepherd with 2:21 remaining in the game. The 2-point conversion failed, but that score was the final nail in the coffin as Shaw walked away with a 28-6 victory.

Pruitt led the Hawks offensively by completing 4-of-9 passes for 109 yards with two TD passes and an interception. McRoy rushed for 95 yards on three carries with a TD to lead the ground game, followed by King with 76 yards and a TD on nine carries and Harthone with 55 yards on 16 carries.

Shepherd caught three passes for 62 yards and a TD, and Redding had one catch for 47 yards and a TD to lead all Shaw receivers.

Lerandal Allen led the Hawks defense with 17 tackles, followed by King with 10 tackles, Dillard with nine tackles and a fumble recovery, Harthone with eight tackles, Ledavious Rice with six tackles and Justin Clay with a sack.

Shaw will now travel to French Camp this Friday in the 1A North Half Championship game. French Camp defeated St. Joe 31-18 to advance. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.