The Hawthorne Hornets continued their excellent start to the season, moving to 4-0 overall after winning 46-6 against the PK Yonge Blue Wave.
In the first home game this season for the Hornets, it was essential for them to start on the right foot on offense and defense. The dominance by the Hornets on both sides of the ball and the outright advantage on special teams helped key the team to a blowout win.
Hawthorne’s Rushing Attack Started Early and Kept Going
After stopping the first drive for the Blue Wave on a bad snap on fourth down, the Hornets gained possession at PK Yonge’s 9-yard line. The Hornets got into the endzone within three plays to get the night started. Senior Brian James scored the first touchdown for Hawthorne to put them up 7-0 early on.
The Hornets would continuously run the ball most of the night, as it proved to be too strong for the Blue Wave. Out of the seven drives, the Hornets had on the night, five of those drives ended in a rushing touchdown for Hawthorne.
Depth at Running Back was very important for the Hornets
The rushing depth for the Hornets proved to be of huge importance in their win tonight. The backfield of seniors Brian James and Isiah Donaldson, in addition to the contributions of sophomore Keenon Johnson and junior Jamarion Davenport were a huge part of the win. Each of the four running backs would find the end zone on the night, with Donaldson scoring twice, highlighted by a 56-yard touchdown.
I was able to catch up with Hawthorne’s head coach, Cornelius Ingram after the game, and asked about how the depth at the running back position was important for the team as a whole.
“Having a good defense and being able to run the football is the formula for a good football team. We know we can get stops and like you said, you have four running backs who can get into the endzone, you have four running backs who can make plays. It was extremely special because with [sophomore QB CJ Ingram] having a bad ankle, he’s normally part of our running game. He was averaging almost 70 yards per game rushing, so he couldn’t really throw, he couldn’t push off, and of course, he couldn’t run either. So the running backs were used for us; they made some plays all night.”
Special Teams for the Hornets Made some Big Plays
While the rushing attack for the Hornets played a near-flawless game, special teams also showed up in a big way. Senior Darian Smith-Williams was able to get 2 touchdowns, as he first scored in the first quarter on a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown. He got his second touchdown right after halftime, finding the endzone on an 83-yard return for the score.
#2 Darian Smith-Williams returns the 2nd-half kickoff 83 yards for another Hornets touchdown! PAT is good.
Hawthorne 34-6 PK Younge.
— Nick Abreu (@NickAbreu13) September 24, 2022
Smith-Williams proved to be extremely dangerous anytime he was returning the ball on kickoffs and punts, totaling close to 200 yards on returns. As a result, the Blue Wave had to punt the ball away from him, so he would have no chance to return the ball. The field position Smith-Williams gave the Hornets from his returns in the first half was pivotal in the team scoring 27 first-half points.
Momentum going into next week
The big win over PK Yonge will definitely help Hawthorne as they ride their momentum into a home match next week against Gibbs (St. Petersburg).
Head Coach Cornelius Ingram spoke about how big their game next week will be against Gibbs.
“It will definitely be a big game, my former teammate Louis Murphy that I played with at the University of Florida is the head coach there. So, that will be fun in itself, but I think we have momentum knowing we can run the football, knowing we can give it to any back to make something happen. Defensively we’ll be sound and we’ll get another week with CJ rehabbing on his ankle, where he’ll be more important to our offense as he has been early on in the season. But as you can see, even when he doesn’t run or make throws, guys make plays on special teams or even in the run game.”
With Hawthorne starting out the season really well, the continued success on both sides of the ball will be important going forward into next week against Gibbs.