GAINESVILLE — Theo Tatum scored with 4:50 to play to give Hillgrove what appeared to be an insurmountable 14-point lead.
That certainly wasn’t the case.
Gainesville scored two late touchdowns to pull to within 28-27. Instead of kicking the extra point and tying the game, the Red Elephants went for the win.
Hillgrove’s defense stopped the 2-point conversion, and then recovered the onside kick to secure the one-point road victory.
It was the third straight win for the Hawks (3-1) as they head into their bye week before the beginning of Region 3AAAAAAA play.
Following an interception early in the second quarter, Gainesville scored first when quarterback Gionni Williams connected with running back Naim Cheeks.
The Hawks quickly answered on a 40-yard run by T.J. Thomas to set up first-and-goal. On the next play Walter Bates scored on an end-around to tie the game 7-7.
Trailing 21-7, Gainesville cut into the lead when Cheeks broke off a 45-yard run, and then finished the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to pull within seven.
Following Tatum’s late touchdown, the Red Elephants pulled back within seven when Williams connected with Jonquavies Drinkard on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
“We had our opportunities throughout the course of the ballgame and if we intercept those two passes, if we catch those two touchdowns we probably are winning the ball game in the fourth quarter.” Gainesville coach Heath Webb said.
Hillgrove’s attempt to run the ball, and run out the clock, was denied when Khaliq Maddox picked up a fumble and returned it 60-yards for a touchdown to set up the two-point conversion.
“We stood in there and Khaliq Maddox came in there and ripped one out and made a great play. Kind of a desperation deal.” Webb said. “The effort you saw tonight is the effort we give in practice everyday and that has translated to the game field.”