Linebacker Justin Haney was shifted from playing outside to inside, and the Hillgrove defense recorded its first shutout of the season in defeating Campbell 38-0 in a Region 4AAAAAA game Friday at Richard McDaniel Stadium.
Haney collected more than 10 tackles, including a sack, and the Hawks’ defense added three turnovers in limiting the Spartans (2-3, 0-2) to 142 total yards, including 77 on the ground.
The victory snapped Hillgrove’s (2-2, 1-1) two-game losing streak.
“The last couple of years, we’ve had guys like Jabari Hunt-Days and John Silas playing inside linebacker for us, and we felt like we needed somebody there like those guys,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said. “(Haney) was setting the edge well, but we felt like we could get more production out of him inside. He set the tone for the defense.”
Hillgrove scored on its first five possessions and took a 31-0 halftime lead.
Troy Thompson, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns, capped a 5-play,
57-yard drive with a 12-yard scoring run for a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes, 58 seconds left in the first quarter. Thompson also rushed 10 times for 94 yards.
Thompson found Evan Engram for a 44-yard touchdown strike to finish a two-play drive on the Hawks’ next possession, and Elijah Ironside, who was 3-for-4 for 42 yards and a touchdown, used three plays to find Omar Black for a 33-yard pass as Hillgrove led 21-0 with 2:05 remaining in the first quarter.
Ironside had four carries for 28 yards, including an 11-yard scamper with 8:43 left in the second quarter, to cap a six-play, 72-yard drive.
Hillgrove ran its no-huddle offense to near perfection on its final possession of the first half, moving the ball 82 yards on 14 plays that culminated in Andrew Gaughn’s 40-yard field goal for the 31-0 halftime edge.
Eric Jackson and Travon Simmons intercepted Campbell on its last two first half possessions and the Hillgrove defense held the Spartans to 64 total first half yards, including 19 on the ground.
Hillgrove rushed seven times and threw twice on its first second half possession — an 80-yard drive resulting in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Richard Hallman to push ahead 38-0.
Darius Harris led Campbell with 14 rushes for 66 yards, and Ricky James had nine carries for 37 yards. James was 6 of 13 for 65 yards. Armand Gazda had three catches for 39 yards.
“Our kids learned that they’ll have to keep fighting each and every week, and they need to always be ready in order to compete,” Campbell coach Harris Rainbow said.