Edgewood extends streak, wins opening-week slugfestPublished 12:39am Sunday, August 25, 2013
MONTGOMERY — Hooper Academy won the first round. Edgewood won the next three. The top-ranked Wildcats took the Colts best shots, and dished out a few of their own, extended Edgewood’s winning streak to 32 games after Saturday’s 57-27 victory over Hooper at Faulkner’s John Mark Stallings Field.
“This was a pretty tough game, but champions always find a way,” said Josh Crawford, Edgewood running back.
Crawford, combined with runs from quarterback Taylor Hawthorne and slash-back Jackson Tate, paced Edgewood’s rushing attack for a combined 342 yards.
Crawford, alone, ran for 138.
It was his 80-yard field goal return for a touchdown, however, that turned the game.
“That changed the discussion at halftime,” said Bobby Carr, coach of the Wildcats.
Hooper put 14 on the board to start the game, turning Edgewood away twice deep inside Colts territory in the first quarter.
Edgewood, however, began hacking into the Colts lead. Tate, a true freshman, found a gap and sprinted through it for an 80-yard kickoff return touchdown giving Edgewood their first points of the night.
“We were rusty in the beginning,” said Tate. “That was big, it was a momentum swing for us. (His return) was when we knew we had this.”
The Wildcats knotted the game a possession later and then took a 23-14 lead late in the first half.
Hooper, behind quarterback Drew Owens, drove down the field but was stalled inside the Wildcats red zone.
The Colts elected to try the long field goal. The kick was errant, possibly tipped by a rushing Tate and a host of outstretched Edgewood arms, and was sent spinning into the hands of Crawford inside the Wildcats 20.
“I caught the ball, it just wound up in my hands,” said Crawford. “Coach told me to rush, but I didn’t. It just wound up in my hands. I didn’t know I could run with it until I looked at the sideline and everyone was screaming Go!.”
The moment of indecision gave Crawford a step on the his teammates and his opponents as he raced into the end zone for the touchdown. Alex Dettmar added the point after and the Wildcats carried a 31-14 lead into intermission.
“They are pretty dang good,” said Zach Golson, second-year coach of the Hooper Academy Colts. “That’s a great football team with great players and great coaches. We made a lot of mistakes tonight. They don’t make mistakes”
A trio of those mistakes were interceptions: Josh Crawford (40-plus yard return), Daniel Green and Garrett Gibson ended Hooper drives.
The Wildcats (1-0) will travel to Montgomery Friday for a region meeting with Evangel Christian. Hooper (0-1) will host Kingwood Christian.
For a complete recap of Edgewood’s victory, see Wednesday’s edition of The Wetumpka Herald