Lassiter withstands Hillgrove's nearly epic comeback
by Adam Carrington
September 01, 2012 02:39 AM | 6719 views | 11 11 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hillgrove at Lassiter
Staff photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan,
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POWDER SPRINGS — Lassiter will have to figure out how to be a better second-half team.

Hillgrove will have to figure out how to be a better first-half team.

After taking a 37-point halftime lead, Lassiter thwarted Hillgrove’s massive second-half rally on the game’s final drive and held on to win 37-29 on Friday in the “Battle of I-75” at McEachern’s Walter Cantrell Stadium.

Lassiter sealed the win in the final 4 minutes by not allowing Hillgrove to get the ball back.

“I told the team that they should be proud to have won the game against a good (Hillgrove) team,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “You saw what they were made of in the second half. They didn’t have any quit in them.

“We started extremely fast in the game, and we finished the game really strong during the last 4 minutes. But, in the second half, we didn’t play very well.”

Lassiter (1-0) was phenomenal in the first half. With the exception of a bad snap or two, it seemed as if the Trojans could do nothing wrong, and they scored on every drive but one to take a seemingly insurmountable lead at the break.

Quarterback Eddie Printz had more than 200 passing yards in the first half, with a pair of touchdowns, before finishing the game with 240. Willie Police had more than 100 receiving yards and a touchdown before he finished with 114. Lassiter also added a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first quarter.

Lassiter got on the board on the fourth play of the game, when Ryan Dowling picked off a Troy Thompson pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.

Hillgrove (1-1) then began making plays, and Lassiter began making mistakes.

Lassiter put constant pressure on Thompson throughout the first half, not allowing him to get rhythm in the pocket, but once he adjusted in the second half, Thompson was more effective.

Evan Engram finished with 128 receiving yards and a touchdown — all coming in the second half — and Thompson finished with 239 passing yards and two touchdowns after throwing for just 37 yards the entire first half.

The momentum shifted in Hillgrove’s favor early in the third quarter, when Trayvon Simmons intercepted a Printz pass and returned it to the Lassiter 17-yard line. The Hawks finished their drive with a 2-yard screen from Thompson to Aaron Bailey.

The Hawks scored again late in the third quarter by finishing a 12-play drive that ended with Thompson sneaking in from 1 yard out.

“(Halftime) speeches don’t win ballgames because, if they do, we would all show up and give one,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said. “Two weeks in a row, we would come out flat early. We have to address that as coaches, and we will. I thought the kids responded very well (in the second half) and was proud of them.”

Lassiter controlled the clock early in the fourth quarter and was set to put the game away midway through by moving the ball to the Hillgrove 17 midway through the period.

However, the Trojans’ 35-yard field goal attempt was blocked, and they nearly paid for it.

Thompson threw an 88-yard screen to Engram for a touchdown three plays later to cut it to 37-21 with 5 minutes left to play. The Hawks then recovered an onside kick and scored a minute later on a 20-yard touchdown run by Richardre Bagley.

The Hawks went for the 2-point conversion and made it, cutting the Lassiter lead to eight points with 4 minutes left and putting more pressure on the Trojans.

Lassiter held on to the ball for the remainder of the game. Printz made a clutch 7-yard scramble on third-and-6 to keep a drive alive, and he got help when Hillgrove was called for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
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common sense
September 04, 2012
This was a poor coached game by coach Ironside. The reason I single him out is because I believe his other offensive coaches have no say so in the offense. What other coaches don't use head sets in the game? what other coaches don't have some type of play card? The game is to fast for him(unless he is some type of genius) to call plays and not take input from up stairs or mark what plays you called or keep track of what worked. He is unorganized and it shows up on game day with our kids.Dont get wrong hillgrove has other problems, like protection,our quarterback had none friday, and we he got a little he made plays.We had 2 defensive players that never miss tackles and make play after play that didnt show up friday, that happens. I feel if Ironside will focus on the main problem which would be him putting together a scheme and fix our problems on the line of scrimmage hillgrove can beat anybody. I gaurantee you our defense want miss that many tackles going foward, and it doesnt matter which QB or RB is in if there is no protection, its hard to score.
Coach for Mitchell
September 02, 2012
Before you make comments you should know what you are talking about. There was no running clock in the 2nd quarter and once a game has a running clock it stays a running clock the rest of the game regardless of coaches desires or the score. The deal at the end of the first half was both coaches agreed to end the half with the kid being injured and the score 37-0. This was done because of the 2nd game and trying to not have to wait 15-20 more minutes to start the game back and then take 20 more fr halftime. Lassister did a great job in the first half and Hillgrove did better in the 2nd. Both teams are well coached and will do fine...look at track records.
D Trump
September 04, 2012
Sounds like Ironside pulled a fast one Lassiter's Coach.

Would you like to buy a bridge?
Mitchell J
September 01, 2012
First let me say I am a Wheeler fan who sat on the home side. I wanted to see why Lassiter was picked to win the region and was ranked so high by so many people. I see now. I also wanted to see Walton's high powered running back.

This game was a total beat down on Hillgrove by Lassiter. Hillgrove's Coach Ironside asked for a running clock in the second quarter after being down 37 - 0. The refs allowed him to disregard the rules after being dominated. 1:55 on the clock, Lassiter ball on the Hillgrove 40 yard line with all of the momentum in the Trojans favor. If you ask for a "running clock" you shouldn't get a choice to change it back after Lassiter mixes in the JV players.

I was totally unimpressed with Hillgrove's gameplan, players and execution. Lassiter beats Hillgrove by 50

I was very impressed with all of the weapons Lassiter has on both sides of the ball.

Wheeler would be a serious contendor if they still had Eddie Printz, Josh Danforth, Dakry Hickey, Hakeem Shahid, Mo Yang, Tyren Jones and whoever else played at Mceachern yesterday.

On a serious note: I do hope the Hillgrove #13 is doing well today.
September 02, 2012
Mitchell, You must not have stayed for the second half? Yes, Lassiter gave a beat down the first half. However, the second half was all Hillgrove. The Hillgrove players never gave up and fought to the end against a very good, well coached Lassiter team. Kugos to Lassiter and how well they played as they exploited Hillgroves biggest weaknesses on defense...The pass defense.

Coach Ironside AND Coach Irwin BOTH agreed that due to the injury on the field that the best thing for BOTH teams was to go to the lockerroom. Players waiting 25 minutes to finish a minute and a half of football in the 2nd quarter can be bad for either team. At no time did Coach Ironside ask for a running clock. If that was the case, he would have done so for the second half of the game.

I will not minimize how Lassiter beat Hillgrove the first half as they excuted to perfection! I WILL give credit where credit is due and that is to the Hillgrove players for playing their hearts out the second half and making a game out of the butt kicking they received the first half.

Kudos to both teams! Lassiter should go far into the playoffs this year and I for one have much more respect for that program, coaching, players and parents!

Mitchell J
September 03, 2012
I watched Coach Ironside come over and ask for a running clock. Never seen it before in High School. Dont BS me. It didn't look like the Lassiter coach wanted to quit. they had the ball on your 40 yard line with 2 minutes. Hillgrove was DOMINATED. You scored on JV players. I don't see Hillgrove even making playoffs this year.

Lassiter scored on you by passing, rushing and an interception return. they exploited your offense to by stuffing the run sacking the QB and smothering your receivers.
September 04, 2012
Mitchell, you must be smoking something! Go back and watch the video of the game. Lassiter's second have defense was the same players as the first.

Ironside and Irwin both agreed to go to the lockerroom with only a minute and a half left on the clock. This was mutually agreed to by both coaches and the refs. No "running clock"! It was "half over".

I agree...In the first half Hillgrove was dominated. However, the second half against Lassiters first string defense and offense, Hillgrove dominated and made an incredible finish to a game that could have been really bad.

GO BACK AND WATCH THE VIDEO before you make comments about playing against the JV!

Mitchell J
September 04, 2012
Sure! So you are saying the Lassiter Coach would be so dumb to let the half run out when they have the ball and the momentum with two minutes to go? Yeah right. Laughable.

What are you smoking?
September 05, 2012

That's exactly what I'm saying. Coach Irwin completely agreed with calling the end of the half. Whether right or wrong, smart or dumb, confident or cocky, he ABSOLUTELY agreed with going to the locker room. Being up 37-0 can give one a high level of confidence that whether the team has momentum or not, you will be safe going to the locker room and the other team would never be able to come back.

Hillgrove played their hearts out in the second half against Lassiters FIRST string defense...Not their JV.

You're either really stupid or really stubborn to admit that the Lassiter was owned by Hillgrove in the second half! As I have freely admitted already, Lassiter handed it to Hillgrove the first half. They are a very good team with great coaching! You however refuse to give Hillgrove credit! Until you do, you have no credibility here or on any other blog!

Mitchell J
September 06, 2012
OK, you win Coach.

Hillgrove had a "GREAT" loss.

After going back and watching it I saw your big receiver break tackles on JV kids. Everyone who I talked to said the same thing. Hillgrove was beaten in every aspect of the game. Even your fourth quarter comeback was stopped when they put the first string back in the game. You don't get to drop two minutes from a game. It doesn't work that way in the rule book.

If you want to base your success on second half efforts then go ahead. See where that ship takes you. Maybe you and your coaches should game plan before the game starts and not wait until you are down at halftime. I saw where the AP sports writers dropped Hillgrove out of the top ten. How can that happen with such a great second half effort? I guess they didn't watch the same game as you.
September 01, 2012
Sounds like a good game to be at...congrats to both teams...don't worry Hawks you showed what kind of team you are in the 2nd half and you have the whole rest of the season to prove it
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