Devils make first stand in region play
by Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
September 15, 2012 02:19 AM | 5256 views | 35 35 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hillgrove at Marietta

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MARIETTA — Marietta got a big leg up in Region 4AAAAAA as it took a convincing 27-13 victory over Hillgrove in the region opener for both teams Friday at Northcutt Stadium.

Anthony Jennings threw for four touchdowns, with three of his scores coming in the first half, to help the Blue Devils (2-1, 1-0) take control of the game early.

It is Marietta’s first win over Hillgrove (1-2, 0-1) in three tries. And it was a far cry from last year, when the Blue Devils lost 48-8.

“Hillgrove is a great program that has proven itself the last couple of years,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “The kids came out and played hard and showed some resilience, and that’s the thing I’m most proud of.”

Jennings was 19-of-31 passing for 240 yards and four touchdowns, including a 56-yard pass to Tyree Harris, who caught seven passes for 134 yards.

“Every ball (Jennings) threw, they caught,” Burton said. “We had injuries in the backfield, so we leaned on him a little more. Our offensive line did a great job of blocking, and our defense made some big plays, so it was a total team effort.”

Troy Thompson completed 13 of 29 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard strike to Evan Engram. In all, Engram caught four passes for 142 yards.

The tone of the game was set from the start, when Hillgrove fumbled the opening kickoff and Marietta’s Drew McCollum recovered the ball on the Hawks’ 38-yard line.

The Blue Devils took advantage as Jennings threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Norwood with 9:45 remaining in the first quarter to give the Blue Devils a 6-0 lead.

Hillgrove took the lead midway through the second quarter, when Thompson connected with Omar Black for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Andrew Gaughan made the extra point to complete a 19-play, 66-yard drive that put the Hawks in front 7-6 with 7:06 remaining in the first half.

The Hawks didn’t hold the lead for long, however, as Marietta struck back on its next series with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jennings to Jordan Mathis and an extra point by Ian Shannon to gain a 13-7 advantage with 5:15 left in the first half.

Marietta closed out the first half with a bang as Jennings hit Harris with a 56-yard strike as time ran out, extending the Blue Devils’ lead to 19-7 at halftime.

Jennings threw his fourth and final touchdown pass in the opening series of the second half as he connected with Mathis for a 5-yard scoring pass and then ran the ball in on the 2-point conversion to make it 27-7 with 7:32 left in the third quarter.

Hillgrove ultimately closed the gap with Thompson’s 74-yard connection with Engram with 6:45 left in the game.

For Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside, it was a much improved Marietta team he saw, far from the one the Hawks beat 48-8 last year.

“The coaches have done a good job with them,” Ironside said. “We’ve played them the last two years, and they’re more physical, they’re stronger up front and they’re executing better. (Coach Burton) has done a good job.”
Comments
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Momma Hawk
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September 25, 2012
I am ashamed of the way these Hillgrove people are talking about our coaches and players!!! These are some of the same coaches and players that went down and defeated Camden County on their own field! Went undefeated in the Region last year and made State runs both of those years! We lost our first region game and you have turned on coaches and players! It seems like a lot of looking out for me, me, me and not the team!! Maybe that's why our boys aren't playing up to their potential. Don't look to the coaches just look in the mirror! I for one will use this to motivate my son this week! Play for your team! Play for your Coach! Play for your school!This is High School Football and it is evident that some of you still have that pound ball mentality that you know best! Not the coaches! Well...we'll see how far that gets your son in college! I am proud of these Hawks! They can do anything once they set their minds to it!! Stay out of their heads negative parents and see how high they fly!! Go Hillgrove! Go Coach Ironside and your awesome staff! There's a lot of support backing you up! Love these boys and coaches... Just a Momma Hawk's opinion!
Coach S
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September 27, 2012
AMEN! Momma Hawk!!!! You rock!!!
Ambivalent
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September 19, 2012
Come on Hawk faithful - you lose to two of the top three QB's in Cobb County and everyone is about to jump off the cliff. Season is young. Hawks will be fine. Oh yea if your worried about johnny not getting a few snaps your delushional. This is Varsity football. You earn your playing time in practice. Hawks will be fine
Ambivadork
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September 21, 2012
I watch the practices and every kid busts their collect show the humps. You start the best but you the other kids that their hard work is no in vane by putting them in a play or two. You strike me a person who probably was mediocre at the best and now is living through your child (who is probably a starter). You also seem to forget, that many stars today did not practice well and sat the bench and became great when they finally got into the game because of an injury. Bret Farve was a bench-warmer, as was Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan...etc., - so that philosophy of yours is clearly flawed. And what else is flawed is that fact that you are giving excuses for the two losses. Great teams do not lose just because the other team has one of the "top" quarterbacks in the county. You pretty much are saying that their 1 person is better than the entire Hillgrove team.
Support Program
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September 18, 2012
I can't believe all of the blasting on here. We moved here 4 years ago and my child is now a Sophormore. We had an older child go thru another local high school prior to moving. The one thing that I think has been great is the work the volunteers do to help support the kids and the program. Not many programs have the kind of success as Hillgrove has had early on and all programs go thru rough years every now and then. I think our High School coaches do a great job and my son came thru the 7th and 8th grade teams and I thought they did a great job of preparing the boys for High School (not to mention the middle school is one of the few in the league to put all three teams into the playoffs each year and my son only lost one regular season game during two years of middle school...after losing 6 as a 6th grader for a different program). I was amazed at the number of people willing to give up their time to work with these boys while they had no kids on the teams. They did this just to get trashed on here by parents. I hope the Hillgrove Administration keeps the coaches together becasue we could certianly have it much worse...believe me, I have seen it.
OMac
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September 18, 2012
Lawwwdd Hillgrove folks...settle down and let the season play out before throwing your coaches out. Don't recall seeing all the venom last season- they apparently all turned straight-up stupid since coaching the boys to a region title in 2011. I'm sure they see things in hindsight they could have done better- we all do.

No one in this state loses a Drake, Silas, Marshal, etc. and keeps it rolling like nothing happened. My own team is 1-2 and that win was a very ugly one against a team we should have dominated...but most of us understand it will take some time and are not treating the comment section of our game summary as if it was the Complaint Dept. Looks like y'all have a group possessing extremely unrealistic expectations...maybe it's a new program thing.
That Guy
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September 18, 2012
Omac, I agree i dont think some of the Hillgrove parents under stand the words "rebuilding" This is not UGA or Bama where you pick and chose the players you want. You have to play the hand your dealt. THis is not a very good hand, there are some good players on the team, But no playmakers.
Bottom line
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September 17, 2012
Talent is not there. The loss of several key players is the problem. Period. Can't blame the coaches when the raw talent isn't there. The truth hurts unfortunately.
common sense
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September 18, 2012
@bottom line then why do you need coaches? there are just as many D1 players as last year!
OMac
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September 18, 2012
common sense- the actual number of D1 players might be equal...but that doesn't always mean an equal level of talent. Can anyone honestly argue that there's a player of Drake's magnitude on this team? I've only seen one at his level on any team in the entire county- the Jones kid at Walton. #17 was a difference-maker that most programs are never blessed with...remove his impact and that Win/Loss record the past two seasons would drop more than a bit, IMO. He didn't make plays that just any ol' kid could make.
Ride the Pine
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September 16, 2012
Going to be a long year, especially since the coaches only feel the 1st team should be the only ones to actually play. Putting non-starters in here asnd there for a play will not fair any worse than what is being currently displayed by the chosen ones. Hard to build a complete unit when many are consistently looked over. Heard during the Football Pep Rally that only the seniors who are starters were recognized - the non-starting seniors were ignored. Working hard for 4 years is not imprtant unless the coaches can use you in as game. Not a good way to build morale or pride. Last year - many levels of players played, often - 10wins-0losses during the season. This year - most of the 3rd and 4th string have yet to see the field - 1win-2losses. Stats do not lie....also, there is nobody to fill in the void left by Drake.
Mitchell J
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September 16, 2012
Hillgrove Parent

I will be surprised if Hillgrove makes the playoffs this year. I see them finishing 5th or 6th in Region 4. I said it after the beat down a couple weeks ago and I am saying it again.

Hawk Dad
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September 17, 2012
Mitchell,

Why so interested in Hillgrove? Previously you stated you were a Wheeler fan. Are you jealous of the success Hillgrove's had in only 2 yrs. in the top classification? Where have the Mildcats been? Let's talk about the playoffs later this year after Wheeler plays someone.
common sense
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September 15, 2012
One last thing. Im going to address the Elephant in the room. I really feel the we have two good QB's I cant say one is that much better than the other,But i will say this no where in America does a starting QB share 50% off the snaps in practice with the back up QB(maybe steve spurrier at florida but both QB's played) jenning is not doing it,prince is not doing it,Queen is not doing it,mcleod is not doing it.Why does this matter? simple mathematics,if these other QB's are taking 1600 snaps a week #11 is taking 800.If you do somthing 800 times if you did it 1600 times you would be better...common sense
Hoshie
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September 15, 2012
It would be nice to see the Hillgrove coaches show some respect to those players who have been in the program since the 9th grade and now are seniors to get into a game for a down or two. I understand you play the best, but when the game is out of hand, would it really hurt putting in the 3rd or 4th stringers here or there? These kids work as hard as the starters, and in many cases, they practice longer in the summer, since many of the starters do not show up until late July - early August to practice. Ironside and staff - do not make the final year for many of these boys the one in which they have nothing to make then feel they were part of the team.
I know
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September 17, 2012
My son will not go on to play football after high school, but like those who start, he has shows up to ever single practice just for the chance to get in to a game. It would be nice to see the coaches give each boy an opportunity to get into the game at least one time a game. Especially those who are seniors. By the way, not recognizing all seniors during the Pep Rally is a slap in the face to those boys who have been giving their

all for the past four years.
Down in the Grove...
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September 15, 2012
Drake can't save you now! LOL
common sense
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September 15, 2012
and our defense does get put in to bad positions with the turnovers and quick 3 and outs, and if we do get a couple first downs its like any other teams 3 and out cause we pass so much, and the defense im sure gets tired, being that 9,10,3,41,46,5 hardly leave the defense. Quick question did our middle linebackers play yesterday? The biggest question and please anybody please answer this for me WHY WITH 7 SECONDS BE FOR HALFTIME 50 YARDS FROM THE ENDZONE WAS HILLGROVE'S DEFENSE IN MAN TO MAN WITH NO HELP OVER THE TOP? PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSTAND!And have the weaker of our # corners guarding there (division 1 commited wr) 1 0n 1? coach nix and who ever else that coaches the defense should be running monday like they do our boys at practice accross the field and back, or better yet let the coaches stand in the middle of the offensive coaches and let them watch them do up downs!
Cobb Watcher
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September 15, 2012
commom...over the past few years Hillgrove was able to hide a lot of deficiencies in coaching with D1 talent. The players you mentioned that never come off the field is because the team is young and not very deep and let's face it, they don't get coached up properly at the middle school level. While the D1 kids were out there doing their thing. The coaches neglected to work with the marginal players that make up the rest of the roster. In other words, the chickens have come home to roost. You got at least two more "L"s coming your way. McEachern and N. Cobb still loom out there. And you're really not much better talent wise than S. Cobb so that's a possible third "L." Like I said rebuilding is a bear. Hopefully Hillgrove will start trading middle school wins for player development. I wish ya'll well.
REAL common sense
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September 17, 2012
I guess it's true common sense isnt so common and reading isnt fundamental. You just listed all the numbers that hardly left defense then you ask did the middle linebackers play. READ the stats and compare the rushing yards to passing yards and tell me did the middle linebackers play and you'll get your answer.YEA THE DID THE WHOLE GAME. Marietta only got 2 points from rushing. Let's see you get out there and try to play instead of trying to call people out.
common sense
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September 17, 2012
@real common sense you sound like lack of common sense. I will beat that our safety's have more tackles then our middle linebackers! That leads to losses.Im not saying our boys dont work hard I think they do, But they need breathers, and that is the coaches responsibility to make sure our guys are playing 100% I dont know if we have replacements for secondary but we do have them for our linebackers.
Go Big Blue
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September 17, 2012
Riddle- What do you get when you fake a handoff against Hillgrove? 4 touchdowns!!! I think Oregon used the same gameplan against Idaho.
believe in crimson
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September 19, 2012
if you were so football smart you would know was not man coverage. also, if the kid had not tripped on his own feet and made the play you wouldn't have anything to complain about anyway. i am sure coach nix and the other coaches put in too many hours of work to have you make negative comments about them. maybe, just maybe, you should stop for a minute and support them. they do not work hard all summer and all season for the program to be unsuccessful. they want to win every week just as everyone else. if the parents are not supportive of the coaching staff, the kids see this and feed off of it. the kids have to believe in the program and believe in the coaches. so hopefully instead of all the negativity Hillgrove family (players, coaches, parents, all involoved) can work together as a team to continue to build the football program that it has been known for.
common sense
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September 15, 2012
Let me start out with a positive I was glad to see Ironside with headsets on, and he looked to be in a take no junk mode last night.the second have he seemed to hurry things up and it seemed to work on office we moved the ball.Again the protection issues lead to sacks and we had penalties those hurt.my advice for the offense is keep working on protection,and coach has to realize he does not have 7 or 8 play makers out there like the last 2 years and figure out away to get #1 involved more and get a scheme to help out a talented and young offense that has a below average offensive line. Now this is my issue with friday The Defense! our defense is opposite, It has play makers everywhere
lack of common sense
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September 15, 2012
Great, a parent who thinks they know the game better than the coaches. They've had some great success over the years. I'm sure they're on pins and needles waiting to read your suggestions since you seem to know more than them.
Are u Kidding
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September 16, 2012
The corners are constantly getting burned and falling for the play action. Hillgrove does not have the talent on defense to play man to man, and they cannot read the offense well enough to play zone. Poorly coached kids right now. Linebackers are afraid to attack the qb when they have a lane directly to the qb. Marietta QB should have been hammered a couple of times, but the linebackers just froze up with the fake pump.
common sense
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September 17, 2012
@ lack of common sense I think your name fits you.Can you tell me one thing wrong with my suggestions?
Common duh sense
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September 17, 2012
Defense has playmakers everywhere? What games are you watching? 37 points given up against Lassister and 27 given up to Marietta. Qb' s have a field day throwing against the Mighty Hillgrove defense. LB's cannot cover the short range pass or for that matter cover anyone out of the backfield, but hey, at the end of the it s only high school football.
common sense
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September 18, 2012
@common duh sense. look at the state the first 13 points to marietta where given short field, fumble, block punt did you not see that? and the last touchdown the coaches gave to marietta 5 sec left and man to man coverage with no help over the top. lassiter game there was a pick six, blocked punt and several three and outs. our defense is put in bad positions, and me personally I think our D does well. I think they get tired cause # 9 41 3 10 46 never get a break.
Cobb Watcher
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September 15, 2012
Hang in there Hillgrove. Rebuilding can be a bear.
JohnSmith411
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September 17, 2012
Hillgrove's future would look brighter if they would replace the 8th grade coach who keeps chasing talented boys out of the program.
Keeping it Real
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September 17, 2012
I am with Cobb Watcher. Hang in there Hillgrove!This was the first Region game. This is high school football and everyone makes mistakes and learn from them. Coaches and players included. Coach Ironside, if you are reading this and I hope you are not, do what you have to do!
From how I see it
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September 17, 2012
Hillgrove loses and here come the wolves! LOL, its obvious you (all the negative comments) have no loyalty to your school. Its great to be Cyber tough. Everything is ok as long as you win. The kids that give the team the best chance to win will play. Thats it, Football is about doing your best and beating out your teammate for playing time during practice and putting those who are ready (physically and mentally)on the field. This game is about TEAM and you might want to look at what your childs abilities are before blasting the coaches.
hawksfan11111
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September 17, 2012
JohnSmith411 I agree with you.My son has played football his whole life and he wanted to quite football after playing his 8th grade not sure if its the same coach this was a couple years ago but the first letter if the last name in G.Kids should know he is not an reflection of the high school coach. Ironside gave my kid a new passion for the game.
JohnSmith411
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September 18, 2012
Hawks Fan - It was the same 8th grade coach you referenced, and he treats linemen worse than dirt. My kid is now a 6'3" 250 pound sophomore. Ironside asked him to give football another try, but I think he's done. I regret it for my son and the team.
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