On a night when Hurricane celebrated their seniors, it was a junior who lead them to victory.
Christian Hill had 200 yards on 31 carries including 2 touchdowns to help the Redskins beat South Charleston 31-20, in a game that should not have been that close.
Perhaps the fanfare surrounding Hurricane's Senior night played a role in the Black Eagles fast start. After dodging a bullet when South Charleston game opening kickoff return was nullified by penalty, Hurricane allowed an 18 play 80 yard drive that ended when SC QB Kinney scored on a 5 yard rush.
Trailing 7-0, Hurricane put together a 17 play drive of their own, and when Hill scored from 6 yards out the Redskins tied the game at 7.
After a 3 and out turned in by Hurricane's defense and a short punt, the Redskins cashed in with Austin Womack in the game at QB, who hit Nate Barham with a 187 yard TD pass to put Hurricane ahead for the first time 14-7.
Barham's TD catch was especially sweet, as it came against his old teammates from South Charleston.
After the Skins defense forced another 3 and out, it appeared that the game was about to be in Hurricane's control. Coach Taylor praised his stop unit in a post game interview with the Gazette-Mail, "we have a great defense, not good, great, offensively we just try not to screw it up." However they did just that as Nathan Roy's pass was deflected, intercepted, and returned for a TD by Rashad Rolle and the Black Eagles found themselves tied with Hurricane despite being out gained 211-89.
The Redskins stole some momentum back before the half when Womack found a wide open J.T. Cooper for a 37 yard gain to the 4 yard line with 3 seconds left. Tim McCutchen nailed a 20 yard FG to give Hurricane a 17-14 halftime advantage.
After the break, Taylor had Hurricane came out with Hill at QB with Cooper in the backfield. Hill following J.T.'s and the O-line's blocking, carried 6 straight times the last of which was a 3 yard TD, which gave Hurricane a 24-14 advantage.
Hurricane's defense once again stymied the Black Eagles, who's offense would not see the end zone again after their initial drive.
After J.T. James recovered a muff punt, Hurricane took advantage and when Nathan Roy faked out the Black Eagle defense, who was keying on Jordan Williams who had several key runs on the drive, scoring from 2 yards out, the game seemed to be all but over.
However if I know one thing after watching 14 years of Hurricane football, it's that nothing comes too easy.
With most of the JV offense on the field, which seemed like a good idea at the time, the 4th Hurricane QB of the night freshman Ismael Barrero's fumble was recovered by Joseph McCallister and returned 77 yards for a touchdown. Haiden Cook blocked the PAT leaving the score 31-20.
The Black Eagles recovered the onside kick to make things even more interesting as they drove to the Redskins 1 yard line with 1:30 still remaining.
But when Cooper registered a sack on 3rd down, and then deflected a 4th down pass, Hurricane had secured their senior night victory, and kept their playoff hopes alive.
NOTES: Cooper and Cameron Kimble paced the Redskins' defense with 11 tackles each, pushing both over 100 tackles on the season.
Hill now has 1285 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season, and is closing in on 3000 for his career.
Hurricane evened the all time series with South Charleston at 7 wins apiece.
Photos Courtesy of Jack Rose Jr.