After enjoying a first-round bye, the undefeated Hawthorne Hornets will play host to the Wildwood Wildcats in the 1R regional semifinal Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. This is a rematch of last year’s 1A regional semifinal, which Hawthorne won easily 50-14.
The Hot Hornets
Hawthrone, led by head coach Cornelius Ingram, carried over its success from last year, going 8-0 in the regular season and securing the 1R Region 4 championship. Seven of the Hornets’ eight victories were secured by at least a one touchdown margin. Hawthorne last played two weeks ago, crushing Astronaut at home 52-0.
The Hornets will look to avenge their crushing 13-12 loss to Madison County in last season’s 1A state title game. Sophomore quarterback CJ Ingram burst on the scene this season, throwing for 828 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior Brian James has been the top rusher for the Hornets, running for 439 yards, an average of 54.9 per game. Ingram leads the team in rushing touchdowns with eight, with senior Isaiah Donaldson just behind with six. Seniors Ga’Mon Randall and Darian Smith-Williams have been Ingram’s favorite targets. The pair have combined for 413 yards and four touchdowns.
Ingram said his team is back to full strength after the bye week and expects Wildwood to provide a challenge.
Wild Season for Wildwood
Wildwood dominated most opponents en route to a 7-2 regular season record. The Wildcats only losses were to Chiefland and South Sumter. Wildwood, led by head coach Vincent Brown, ousted undefeated Williston on the Red Devils home turf last Friday, earning a 46-35 win. The Wildcats took the lead in the second quarter and never again relinquished their advantage. On the first play of the second half, senior quarterback Jamari Dickens connected with junior Dedrick Grady on a 73-yard strike. The Wildcats defense handled the rest of the night to complete the upset.
Dickens has split time with senior Vincent Brown Jr. and sophomore Taylor Keiler at quarterback season, with Dickens getting the majority of snaps. The trio are extremely mobile shot callers, with each running for over 200 yards and making up 18 of Wildwood’s 22 rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Jeremiah Colebrooks has been Wildwood’s biggest weapon on the ground, racking up 209 yards and two touchdowns. On the receiving end, Zechariah Poyser and Lorenza Simmons have accumulated over 250 yards each and nine touchdowns combined.
What’s at Stake?
The winner will head to the 1R regional final against either Pahokee or Chiefland, who also face off Friday night.