Hawks use big first-half effort to clinch opener
by Greg Oshust
MDJ Sports Writer
August 24, 2013 01:29 AM | 3258 views | 6 6 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hillgrove's Sonny Harris works his way through the Westlake defense. The Hawks went on to win their home opener 26-6.
Hillgrove's Sonny Harris works his way through the Westlake defense. The Hawks went on to win their home opener 26-6.
POWDER SPRINGS — Hillgrove got all the scoring it needed in the first half, and the Hawks opened the season with a 26-6 victory over Westlake at Cobb Energy/Hillgrove Stadium.

Elijah Ironside’s three touchdown passes to Justin Denton provided most of the points for Hillgrove (1-0), which gained 164 of its 230 total yards in the first 24 minutes of the game.

The Hawks struggled offensively in the second half, but it had built up enough of a cushion by then.

For coach Phil Ironside, the season opener was very much a mixed bag.

“Whenever you win, you’re happy,” he said. “We probably played a good first half. I think we played an equally bad second half. It didn’t look like we were very focused. We didn’t handle the details. We turned balls over. We were lackadaisical offensively. We’ve got to clean that up and play two good halves.”

Elijah Ironside was 17-for-34 for 120 yards and three touchdowns, while Denton caught seven passes for 74 yards, including all three of Ironside’s scoring strikes.

Richardre Bagley led the way on the ground for the Hawks, with 84 yards on 19 carries.

Hillgrove got on the board near the end of the first quarter when Ironside threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Denton, and Andrew Gaughn kicked the extra point to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead with 42 seconds remaining.

Hillgrove got its next big opportunity when Sam Griffith recovered a fumble at the Westlake 35-yard line with 9:23 remaining in the first half.

It took six plays for the Hawks to get in the end zone again, as they increased their lead to 14-0 when Ironside tossed a 4-yard scoring pass to Denton, and Gaughn converted the extra point, with 7:32 left.

A short punt by Westlake after it went three-and-out on its next possession gave Hillgrove the ball at the Lions’ 45 with 6:17 left in the first half.

Six plays later, Ironside hooked up with Denton again — this time for a 25-yard touchdown pass — and Gaughn booted the extra point with 4:46 left to push the Hawks’ advantage to 21-0.

Westlake went three-and-out on its next possession, then gave up a safety to Hillgrove when the snap on the punt attempt sailed over punter Dakota Rocker’s head and into the end zone to make it 23-0 with 3:08 left.

The Hawks were forced to punt on their next possession, but caught a break as Phil Davis recovered a Westlake fumble on the punt return with 2:49 left.

Hillgrove took advantage of that turnover on its new possession as Gaughn kicked a 30-yard field goal with 1:15 left to give the Hawks a 26-0 lead they would carry into the locker room at halftime.

Westlake would get its lone score when Rocker picked up a fumble by Ironside after he was sacked. He ran it 52 yards in the end zone with 7:51 remaining in the third quarter.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Power Of Dixieland
August 24, 2013
I thought Hillgrove's offense was predicated on the read option? With absolutely no threat of the QB running, the Hawks will be awfully predictable for opposing defenses. Will it take another year to realize Drake is gone?
Good job
August 24, 2013
Justin Denton looked phenomenal last night. I hope he continues to do well. In addition, he doesn't have the arrogance that our former hot shot WR has and is very low key about his talent which makes him the best and way more appealing!Hope the boys can build on that stamina for the whole game! Go Hawks!
are you kidding me
August 26, 2013
That hot shot you are talking about is starting for an SEC school week 1!!!!!
Coach Cosell
August 26, 2013
I agree. He played well. i love that kid. He did what he was suppose to do. He did not drop the ball. If you know the game of football, there was no Safety over the top. West Lake was poorly coached, and we took advantage of the the situation. When they figured it out, the scoring at the WR position stopped. Gotta get bigger and stronger for the upcoming teams. Passing the ball will not be our strong point. Im sorry. But go Hawks!!!!!!!
August 24, 2013
I wish Hillgrove games were broadcast on the radio.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides