|Wildcats win cliffhanger|
|Written by News Desk|
|Saturday, 05 October 2013 06:17|
Edgewood Academy won its 37th game in a row but lost its superb quarterback, Taylor Hawthorne, for the season to a knee injury. Above: Hawthorne (white uniform) picks up a first down early in last week's game before leaving with an injury.
Photo: Anita Barnes
By ART PARKER
At the start of last week Edgewood head football coach Bobby Carr said, "We are healthy and everyone will be in uniform. It couldn't come at a better time since we will be facing Autauga Academy." If Edgewood was in danger of losing a region game it was to Autauga, so Carr was getting just what he wanted going into the Autauga game.
But he didn't leave with what he wanted. Well, in some ways he did. The 24-21 win over the Generals was a hard fought win, the 37th consecutive victory for the Wildcats and a character builder. But the win was costly in terms of health as the Wildcats leader and quarterback, Taylor Hawthorne, sat on the bench in the second quarter. In the second half Hawthorne was on crutches with some sort of splint device keeping his leg straight. "I took a hit on my knee and then something else happened. I kept playing and I should have come out before I did." Hawthorne said after the game with dejection seen all over his face. After the game Carr told his players he was proud of their determination. "You could have thrown in the towel many times but you didn't. With your leader out you pulled together and showed the fire in your eyes."
The Wildcats began the game with a 63 yard touchdown drive with Josh Crawford scoring from a yard out. Autauga scored on its first snap of the game to tie things at 7-7. Edgewood came back with another 63 yard drive as Hawthorne scored from a yard away. And, just as if it was scripted, Autauga scored on its first snap of its next possession to level the board at 14-14. Before Edgewood could score again Hawthorne left the game and Crawford took over as signal caller.
The Wildcats topped off a 79 yard drive when Crawford threw to Heath Young for a 48 yard touchdown pass. Autauga came back and scored again on an 11 play drive.
The game was tainted with a heavy number of penalties as both sides were very aggressive. But the penalties played the biggest role just before the half. Crawford put the Wildcats in business with a 35 yard completion to David Caton. With time running out Crawford threw to the end zone and Autauga was called for pass interference. Crawford repeated the effort and again, the Generals were called for pass interference. With ball on the 6 yard line and only 5 seconds left in the half, Alex Dettmar came in and booted a 23 yard field goal. At that time, Dettmar had no way of knowing it would be the game winner. The senior said, "I'm glad I could help win this game. Usually I just kick a lot of extra points since we score so many touchdowns. But this is even more special because it was such a team effort."
Due to the shuffling of the offense after the first quarter, junior Jake Sisson and freshman Jackson Tate filled the void and gave Edgewood a good effort in the backfield.
The offensive affair turned into a pure defensive struggle in the second half with neither team scoring, although Autauga seemed to be on the brink of a score at any moment due to either good field position or Edgewood's offensive miscues. But the Wildcats defense, which showed plenty of weakness in the first half, always stiffened and refused to surrender to the Generals in the second half. "We made adjustments in the second half with some stunts and some alignment changes," Carr said. "It is just another great job by the assistants, especially Scott Storey (defensive coordinator)."
Now the Wildcats will be required to change everything on the offensive side of the ball. On Saturday the Wildcats learned that Hawthorne was lost for the season. "This is the worst thing that could happen to us. Our entire strategy will change. I don't know exactly how we will adjust but adjustments will be required," Carr said.
Edgewood is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the region. The Wildcats will play host to Coosa Valley this week in another region match. Coosa Valley is 3-2 for the season.
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