POWDER SPRINGS — Hillgrove dominated Banneker from start to finish and won 42-7 in non-region action at Cobb Energy/Hillgrove Stadium Friday night.
The victory marked the third straight win for the Hawks (3-0), who held the Trojans to 44 yards of total offense and combined to score three defensive and special teams touchdowns.
“That’s something we try to do every game,” Hillgrove defensive coordinator Luqman Salam said. “We want to create turnovers. That’s our objective every play. Turnovers change the game, and we were fortunate (Friday) that those turnovers turned into touchdowns.”
Hillgrove led 42-0 at halftime as Matthew McCravy finished the game going 11-for-14 for 123 yards and three touchdowns. He was replaced by Theo Tatum with 2:54 remaining in the second quarter.
McCravy completed touchdown passes to Traven Reese, Jalen Royals and Victor Aliu. McCravy found Aliu for an 18-yard strike on the Hawks’ first possession to go in front 7-0. His 1-yard connection to Reese gave Hillgrove a 21-0 lead with 11:54 on the second period clock. And Royals caught a 14-yard pass for the 42-0 advantage with 5:21 remaining until intermission.
“His decision making has been excellent,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said. “We’ve been working with him on going from read-to-read to find that next open guy and he’s been doing a really good job of that. The maturity he’s showing. He’s really having fun out there and playing well.”
Hillgrove’s defense and special teams units also got in on the scoring act. Jake Sayer, who recovered a fumbled punt return in the Hawks’ first game of the season, picked up another one Friday. He recovered this one in the end zone following a 38-yard punt from Jose Chaires that gave the Hawks their 14-0 margin with 2:45 in the first.
Zach Parker’s 52-yard punt return made it 28-0 with 10:53 in the second and Noah Abrams’ 30-yard interception return had Hillgrove leading 35-0 with 10:16 in the second quarter.
“That interception was really fun,” Abrams said. “I saw it coming. I read the play right and just took it in. We work hard every week and every day to come out fast and strong and don’t stop until the end of the game.”
Hillgrove recorded five sacks for 32 yards as Conley Hair, Darrell Ellis, Parker and others got in the backfield to help hold Banneker to minus-6 yards of offense in the first half.
The Hawks, who totaled 189 offensive yards and played with a running clock the entire second half, had 148 yards in the first half and scored on four of their first five possessions. The Trojans had minus-2 yards in the first quarter.
The contest marked the third straight game where Hillgrove’s defense scored a touchdown, and it gives them four defensive touchdowns on the season. The Hawks had an interception return for a score against Douglas County and recorded a fumble return for a touchdown last week versus Pebblebrook.
“We played a really good game collectively,” Salam said. “The kids did a good job. They rallied to the ball and played together.”
Jordan Griffin rushed five times for 15 yards. He scored the Trojans’ lone touchdown on a 2-yard run with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.