Hurricane made some school history last night. For the 2nd consecutive year the Hurricane Redskins are in the Elite Eight of the WV AAA Playoffs. They advanced for the 2nd straight year with a road playoff victory. This marks the FIRST time in the program's history that they have won back to back road playoff games.
In a game played in freezing cold, the Redskins came out hot and treated the early going as if their 5 hour trek was a mere business trip.
Christian Hill got the bulk of the work on the Redskins opening drive which he finished successfully with a 1 yard TD run. Hurricane got to the 1 yard line with a 28 yard Nathan Roy to Dakota Williams completion.
After a defensive stop concluded with J.T. Cooper (9 tackles) taking down Hedgesville's punter, the Redskins were deep in Eagles' territory.
Hurricane settled this time for a 24 yard Tim McCutchen Field goal to go up 10-0.
The Redskins struck quickly on their next drive as Roy (5-13-144) and Williams (7-99) hooked up on a 60 yard touchdown pass, Roy's first in 4 weeks, and this one had the looks of a rout with Hurricane up 17-0.
Hedgesville had other ideas. The Eagle passing attack, which saw them total 56 pass attempts, got untracked and when Jason Plotner (26-45-265) hit Niyjere Smith (10-143) with a 61 yard TD pass the Redskin lead was 17-6 (after the PAT failed). With 2:23 left in the opening quarter it was apparent that this would be a long game.
Hurricane drove the ball again but had a near miss on a Roy to Curon Cordon pass that looked to be ticketed for the end zone, and a holding penalty that cost the Redskins a 4th down conversion, forcing a punt.
Hedgesville made the Redskins pay when Keenen Smoot (17-47) found the end zone from 8 yards out. A successful 2 Point-Conversion pulled the Eagles within 3 at 17-14.
Before the Hurricane fans could get too nervous, Cordon returned the ensuing Kickoff 60 yards to set the Redskins up in great field position. It did not take long to take advantage. Christian Hill romped 31 yards to pay-dirt and Hurricane increased the margin to 24-14.
After the Redskin defense, led by Camerons Patterson (11 tackles) and Kimble (10 Tackles), forced another punt. It was Christian Hill (16-185-3 tds) time once again. He rolled 60 yards for his third touchdown run of the night, and Hurricane was once again up by 17, 31-14 with over 5 minutes left in the half.
Hedgesville led by Plotner who was finding his favorite receiver Malakai Brown (14-135) often, drove deep into Redskin territory. However the Hurricane Defense led by Payton Lunsford (team high 13 tackles) , Steven Shine (7 tackles), and Matthew Hartleben (7 tackles), stiffened and kept the Eagles from scoring.
However this was NOT the case to start the 2nd half. Hedgesville went on a long drive and after Plotner scored from 6 yards out the Eagles were within 10 at 31-21.
Once again Hurricane and their fans had little time or use for worry. Thanks to the one they call "D-Will". Williams scooped up an Eagles squib kick and never broke stride, 60 yards later Dakota was in the End Zone celebrating another quick strike touchdown and Hurricane was up 38-21.
Hurricane was feeling good, while the Eagles were getting frustrated. A Mason Giacomo interception added to Hedgesville's bad mood and the Redskins thought they had more to celebrate.
Unfortunately a Curon Cordon TD run was nullified by a penalty, and Nathan Roy was hit and fumbled a few plays later. Roy was shaken up on the play and did not return to the contest.
After another 4th down stop, the Redkins got the ball back and Austin Womack took over at QB and got his most extended action of the season. On his first play he found Cordon on a 30 yard gainer, but once again the Redskins drive stalled.
However Hedgesville failed to take advantage, as Plotner took a hit from Cooper forcing an errant throw which was intercepted by Charlie Womack.
This time Hurricane would take advantage as Lunsford scored from 4 yards out and the Redskins were in command 45-21.
Hedgesville came a bit unglued as both Ethan Von glahn and later Plotner were both ejected from the game. After Hedgesville's back-up QB Hunter Coe (3-11-44 yards) failed to pick up a first down the Eagles sent out the punt team.
Hurricane fans were buzzing as OL/DE Michael Watson dropped back to field the punt. "I was NOT going to call for a Fair-Catch" Watson said after the game.
We will never know! Tyrone Washington blocked the punt and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. Anthony Halkias added his first career PAT and the Redskins has a 52-21 victory.
Notes: The last back to back years in which Hurricane won playoff game was 2010 at home against Spring Valley, and 2011 on the road versus Elkins.
Happy Birthday Coach Taylor, who improved to 2-4 in the playoffs with last might's victory.
#1 Huntington defeated #16 South Charleston today which means the Redskins will go to Huntington next weekend (Saturday is the rumor) to face the undefeated Highlanders in a rematch.
The game took over 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete as the temperatures dipped into the low 20s.